Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Ceisteanna (27)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

27. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to deal with the serious shortfall in funding for the housing adaptation scheme for older persons and persons with disabilities in view of the severe need for support due to a social housing shortage. [44840/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I am aware of the challenges we face in delivering housing supports to a range of vulnerable households and groups. The requirement to reduce public expenditure to sustainable levels is impacting on capital programmes all across the public service, including my Department's housing capital programme. The level of capital funding available has declined significantly in recent years along the lines highlighted in the Medium Term Exchequer Framework for Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016. As a result capital spending on housing programmes is subject to constraint over the short-term.

Substantial grant funding was provided for improving and adapting private houses in recent years - in the past two years almost 22,000 householders benefitted under the schemes. On 22 February 2013 I announced Exchequer allocations to local authorities under the suite of Grants for Older People and People with a Disability amounting to €34.2 million. Through active management of the overall housing budget for 2013, I allocated further funding across all local authorities on 19 July bringing the overall funding for these grants to €36.5 million. My Department is closely monitoring expenditure across all the measures under the housing programme. I will consider allocating further funds to the grants measure in the event of any saving arising elsewhere.

The Abridged Estimate for my Department, published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Expenditure Report 2014, provides some €28.6 million in respect of the grants measure. This will be supplemented by the recently announced €10 million in additional funding for the measure, giving an overall provision in 2014 of €38.6 million, some €4.3 million more than the initial allocation in 2013.

I am currently reviewing the operation of the suite of Grants for Older People and People with a Disability with the objective of targeting those in most need and ensuring that the maximum numbers of households can benefit from these schemes. I intend to announce revised terms and conditions for the grant schemes before the end of the year.