ALMOST 200 people are on waiting lists for housing adaptations in Cork County, The Echo can reveal.
Housing grants are used to make alterations to a home to make it suitable for a person with a physical, sensory or intellectual disability; to improve the homes of older people to ensure they can continue living there; and to help with the cost of works to address mobility issues in the home.
Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that 194 people were on waiting lists for housing adaptations across Cork county at the end of 2020.
Almost 90 of these had been waiting more than a year while eight had been waiting more than 1,000 days.
A spokesperson for the County Council explained that all applicants who apply for a disabled persons grant (DPG) Scheme are assessed and prioritised by an occupational therapist (OT) and are categorised on medical priority.
“These cases are at various stages from application received to being assessed by an OT to ready to commence works,” they said.
Documents seen by The Echo also revealed the allocation and spend for both public and private housing grants in recent years.
In 2020, Cork County Council received an allocation of around €5.8m (including Council spend) for private housing grants and €821,000 for public grants. The public grant was added to by the council.
The local authority spent approximately €3.8m of the private allocation and €1.2m on public housing, which it says may not be the final expenditure figure.
The spokesperson for Cork County Council said that “all monies were expended in 2020 based on prioritisation”.
They added: “A further allocation will be made in 2021 and further works will be undertaken during this year which will reduce the numbers on the waiting list.”
A spokesperson for the government’s Department of Housing explained that the Covid-19 pandemic meant the majority of local authorities were unable to draw down their full housing grant allocations in 2020 “with government restrictions curtailing the activities of technical staff, occupational therapist resources and the availability of construction resources”.
“This was closely monitored by the department and underspends were redistributed to local authorities with capacity to process additional applications, resulting in 8,137 grants paid in 2020,” the spokesperson added.