HAP applicants are not securing wheelchair-specific housing

By Aideen O'Flaherty

SOUTH Dublin County Council has no record of any people who require wheelchair-specific housing, and are on the housing list, securing suitable properties with the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

The HAP scheme provides a rent supplement for people who are on the council’s housing list to secure private rented accommodation while waiting for a suitable social housing property to become available.

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At a recent meeting of South Dublin County Council, Fianna Fáil councillor Teresa Costello asked the chief executive how many people are on the housing list requiring wheelchair-specific housing, and how HAP applicants on that list have secured suitable housing.

The local authority stated that there is “no record of any HAP applicants having found suitable properties that we are aware of”.

Cllr Costello told The Echo: “When I saw that I was a bit upset, because people with disabilities face enough challenges as it is.

“It removes a bit of hope for people who are waiting to be housed.”

This leads to many people with disabilities continuing to live in the family home, added Cllr Costello, in accommodation that is unsuitable for their needs or stunts their independence.

“In the time that they’re on the housing list and on the HAP scheme, we have people who could be living independently.

“I hate seeing anybody being stuck, and I want everyone to have equal opportunities.

“When I saw that no one who needed a wheelchair-accessible HAP property had got one, it stopped me in my tracks.”

The council stated that there are currently 67 households on the social housing list who have a specific need for suitable, wheelchair liveable properties.

In terms of their own housing project for people who need wheelchair accessible properties, the council outlined plans for 37 ground floor wheelchair accessible apartments, comprising 15 one-bed and 22 two-bed homes, who are included in their projected new housing delivery up to mid- 2021.

“These homes, along with all homes designed and built by the council, are wheelchair accessible in accordance with Part M (2010) of the Building Regulations (which requires that adequate provision be made for people to access and use a building, its facilities and its environs) and are being delivered in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies,” stated South Dublin County Council.

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