Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (367)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

493 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will confirm that it is possible for an Irish person living abroad to apply to an Irish local authority for social housing while still living in a foreign country; if Dublin City Council is implementing this policy change; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3020/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

The letting of local authority housing is a matter for the relevant local authority in accordance with its scheme of letting priorities which is drawn up and adopted at local level. It is understood that local authorities do not accept applications for housing from applicants living outside the State. To qualify for housing here in Ireland applicants must be prepared to take up residence in Ireland, usually within the functional area of the local authority from whom they intend seeking accommodation, and make a formal application to that authority for housing. The application is then processed in accordance with the approved scheme of letting priorities operated by that authority.

However, under an amendment made to the terms of my Department's voluntary housing capital assistance scheme in November 2001, up to 25% of accommodation in new projects provided throughout the country by individual voluntary housing bodies with funding under the scheme may be allocated to elderly returning emigrants who satisfy eligibility criteria in relation to their present circumstances and are included in the Safe Home waiting list. Safe Home carries out a co-ordinating role liaising with relevant individual voluntary housing bodies throughout the country in relation to accommodation for eligible elderly emigrants who are included in their waiting list. Elderly emigrants wishing to apply for accommodation may apply and be assessed for housing provided under the scheme without the requirement of having first returned to this country.