Not enough cash to help elderly struggling at home

There will not be enough money to deal with all the housing adaptation grants requested in Kilkenny this year, and the Housing aid for Older Persons (HOP) scheme will remain closed for applications for the time being.

There will not be enough money to deal with all the housing adaptation grants requested in Kilkenny this year, and the Housing aid for Older Persons (HOP) scheme will remain closed for applications for the time being.

Last year’s Government allocation for grants, which was €1.8 million, was spent in full. This year, it is estimated the figure will be closer to €1.2 million.

To cover the applications currently on hand for consideration, even without new ones, the council would require almost €4 million.

The figures were revealed at the January meetings of the borough and county councils, as the members considered the annual housing report for 2012.

The HOP scheme remains closed since March of last year, and elderly people can no longer apply. The council has given assurances that all cases deemed to be ‘emergency’ will, however, be dealt with.

The remaining two schemes, MAG (mobility aid grants) and HGD (adaptations for people with a disability) are also both over-subscribed. Emergency cases will be addressed, as may some cases deemed ‘priority one’.

The three grant schemes are intended to assist people so that they can continue to live in their own homes. Over 150 HOP grants were sanctioned last year, but there remains almost 330 on the list.

The council has admitted that the allocation for 2013 will not be sufficient to cover even the number of applicants already on hand.

“Of the €4 million, not everyone is an emergency or priority,” senior executive officer Martin Mullally told the Kilkenny County Council members.

“But all emergency cases can be done in 2013, and many of MAG and HGD priority one. As of now, we should go ahead with these.”