To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the budget for housing adaptation grants in 2019; the estimated cost of restoring it to 2008 levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I announced funding for 2019 of €71.25 million nationally for the Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability, living in private houses. This is made up of €57 million exchequer funding, which is an increase of some 8% on the 2018 figure, with the balance of €14.25 million coming from local authority resources. Increasing funding to 2008 levels would cost an additional €0.95 million made up of €0.8 million from the Exchequer, with a further €0.15 million to be contributed by the local authorities.
I am conscious of the social benefit accruing from the schemes, particularly in terms of facilitating older people and people with a disability to remain living independently in their own homes. This is recognised in the Programme for Government and as a consequence, funding has been increasing year on year since 2014. The Government's Housing Options for Our Ageing Population - Policy Statement (Actions 4.1/4.2) indicates a commitment to increase the funding for the Scheme, review the Scheme guidelines and streamline the Scheme's operation. The Policy Statement is available on my Department's website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/housingoptionsforanageingpopulationeng_web.pdf.
Over the course of each year, my Department works closely with all local authorities, to monitor spend and to achieve a full drawdown of the available funding. As the year progresses, any underspend is redistributed to those local authorities with high levels of grant activity who sought additional funding.
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