Speaking in the Seanad earlier today, Senator Ardagh said, “The Housing plan published yesterday offers very little optimism for people with disabilities.
“It is disappointing that there is a distinct lack of emergency and social housing for people living with a disability. In Dublin South Central alone there are 15,000 living with a disability – the highest proportion in the country. Agencies do not know how to respond or support those with disabilities who have become homeless as there is no suitable supply of emergency accommodation in the city.
“An audit of people with disabilities in homeless services must be conducted and any response must be based on the development of specific services for them. Furthermore, due to the archaic social housing criteria, people with a disability living with family are prevented from applying, which infiltrates their ability to live in an adequate, independent environment.
“Meanwhile, the cuts to the Housing Adaptation Grant introduced by the last Government, run counter to the policy of empowering those with disabilities to live comfortably in their own home and as part of the wider community.
“The Housing Adaptation Grant makes it possible for people with disabilities to remain in their own homes by providing vital support for installing essentials such as hand rails or lifts to assist people to get around their homes more easily.
“It is often the difference between a person remaining in their own home or being forced into a care facility, nursing home or indeed being made homeless. It is therefore imperative that these essential grants are adequately resourced and not filleted any further.
“In the Programme for Government, it was committed to further increase the funding allocated to this scheme. Fianna Fáil has previously called to restore the grant to 2011 level. It is my hope that the Government will make gains towards that in Budget 2017 and honour the commitment to increase the funding of this scheme,” added Senator Ardagh.