Extra funding confirmed but Housing Scheme won’t re-open

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Although extra funding has been confirmed for Co Leitrim’s Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme, the scheme will remain closed to new applicants the Leitrim Observer has learned.

Although extra funding has been confirmed for Co Leitrim’s Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme, the scheme will remain closed to new applicants the Leitrim Observer has learned.

Last week Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan TD, confirmed that the Housing Adaptation Grant allocation to Leitrim County Council had been revised upward from €66,000 to €129,962.

“Leitrim County Council have been in contact with my Department’s officials and it appears that, due to a misinterpretation of what was required, an incorrect figure for commitments was entered in the returns to the Department. A revised figure has now been received and I am pleased to say that the council’s revised allocation for 2013 now stands at €129,962,” said Minister O’Sullivan in a letter on the matter.

However, despite the increase a spokesperson for the Council has confirmed that the funding is not sufficient to facilitate the re-opening of the grant scheme in the current year.

Leitrim County Council already has €101,000 of the current funding committed. This includes €40,400 already paid out under the scheme in 2013 as well as €33,500 in approved applications on hand where payment request have not been made to date. The €101,000 also includes a further €27,000 in applications currently being processed.

“Consideration will be given to our capacity to accept a small number of emergency applications within the very constrained resources available,” added the spokesperson for the Council.

Sligo/ North Leitrim Deputy Tony McLoughlin has welcomed news of the increase in allocation for Co Leitrim noting that, within the context of grant reductions across the board, this at least left the county with “a more reasonable figure” for 2013.

“I would prefer to see more funding under this heading from the department however given the current economic situation we find ourselves in further funding at this time is not possible,” he admitted.

Minister for Small Business and local Sligo/North Leitrim representative, John Perry TD also welcomed the funding increase

“These support grants have a major impact on the quality of life for the recipients, and I have seen first-hand how these grants have helped people in Leitrim,” he said.

“I am confident that this allocation will help those in need as well as showing this Government’s continued commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in our society.”