Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Questions (389)

Ann Phelan

Question:

389. Deputy Ann Phelan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will clarify if his Department is willing to reduce the age limit to 60 years for the HOPS grants for applicants solely reliant on DSP payments such as invalidity pension and disability payments to assist those most vulnerable and most in need; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12160/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Housing Aid for Older People Scheme (HAOP) provides grants of up to €8,000 to assist older people living in poor housing conditions to have necessary repairs or improvements carried out. Grant eligible works include structural repairs or improvements, re-wiring, repairs to or replacement of windows and doors, provision of water supply and sanitary facilities, provision of heating, cleaning, painting etc.

Some changes to the grant schemes were made recently on foot of the report by a review group, established in 2013 by my Department, to examine the terms and conditions governing the suite of grants. The aim of the review was to spread the benefits of the schemes as widely as possible and to ensure fairness and value for money in their operation. While the age limit for eligibility has been increased from 60 to 66 years a lower age limit can apply at the discretion of the local authority in certain cases. The detailed administration of the scheme, including the assessment, approval and payment of grants to applicants, is the responsibility of the relevant local authority.