Meath West TD, Peadar Toibin, has told Meath live that the length of time that currently exists on waiting lists for disability housing in Meath is unacceptable.

The Aontu party leader claimed, “On one waiting list in Meath, persons with disabilities have been waiting in excess of 12 years for allocation of housing. Nearly 10% of applications (400 applications) in 2020 so far have been for disability housing. Construction of Physically Accessible Units is happening in dribs and drabs. Units are being built in 2s and 3s over several years – not months. AHB Constructions are marginally better. The reality is that neither are able to meet the growing demand for disability housing in County Meath.”

 “Disabled people are more than twice as likely to face discrimination relating to housing and over 1.6 times more likely to live in poor conditions, including living in damp housing, lacking central heating or living in an area with neighbourhood problems.

“In Meath, nearly 10% of all Housing Applications come from those with physical, mental health, intellectual or sensory disabilities. 25% of the people forced to live on our streets have disabilities. Over a 1,000 people with disabilities under the 65 are living “inappropriately in nursing homes.” Between 2,000 and 4,000 people with disabilities are still forced to live in “congregated settings” with ten or more people.

“That is without even looking to the “hidden homeless”, those people with disabilities who live in other people’s houses, are not on housing lists, and with no expectation that they shall not live independent lives. Family and friends are forced to carry their loved ones up and downstairs

in private dwellings not suited for purpose, due to the stringency of the Adaption Grant.”

 “The Independent Living Movement Ireland assessed 31 Local Strategic Housing Disability Plans published by the County Councils across the country. The sliding scale was from very good to average to poor. Two councils – 6% of councils, were found to be very good, out of 31 councils. 94% of Councils were found to be either average or poor. 65% (20 councils) being rated poor, and 9 councils (29%) being rated average. Meath County Council ranked 24th out of 31 Councils, with a solidly poor rating. . 

“How can we help people with disabilities get housing if the best we can hope for from 94% of Councils is average? Many disabled people who want to live independent lives are caught in a “catch-22” situation: in order to get a home from a Local authority, they need a commitment from the HSE that a Personal Assistance Service (PAS) package is in place. The HSE will not sign off on this “package” unless there is a home to move into. People’s lives are caught in the middle of two bureaucratic systems that seem not to communicate.”

 “Assessment carried out by the Department of Housing shows a significant increase from 2013 through to 2017. In 2013, the housing need of those with disabilities was approximately 3’938 houses required – in 2017, 5’772 houses were required to meet the housing need: a jump in 1’834 housing need in four years.

It has only increased with every passing year. Some people have been waiting for more than a decade for a house to be allocated to them. €70 million euro is allocated towards housing supports for the elderly and people with disabilities mostly towards housing adaptions, when you divide that across 31 local authorities around the country it’s actually miniscule and doesn’t meet the demand. Year on year, the number of applications for housing grants for people with disabilities and housing aid for older persons is greater than the numbers awarded.”