Seán Crowe T.D. has called on South Dublin County Council (SDCC) to change its bar on Disabled Person Grant for tenants who are living in mid-terrace council housing. The TD said that SDCC’s current policy is that tenants in mid-terrace housing who are looking for an extension or major alterations to their home on medical grounds are being forced to go on the housing transfer list. Crowe described this approach as cruel, disruptive, and probably illegal under current disability legislation.
Deputy Seán Crowe said: “There are currently a number of families living in the SDCC area who have been rejected for the Disabled Persons Grant on the grounds of living in a mid-terrace home. They have been informed in official correspondence to go onto the housing transfer list. They are effectively being told to leave their existing home as a result of a serious illness or a debilitating medical condition facing a member of their household. “I am currently dealing with a case where an individual, because of restrictive upper and lower limbs, is going to end up in a wheelchair and will need access supports such as a ramp, adapted doors, downstairs bathroom facilities, a stair lift, and eventually a downstairs extension. “SDCC tenants who are facing life changing medical conditions should be getting support and not being told that they have to go through the added trauma of moving home, leaving supporting neighbours and long friendships, all because they live in a mid-terrace home that SDCC policy says it is not suitable for adaption for applicants.
“SDCC’s policy is cruel, disruptive, and at odds with the approach of other local authorities who have a completely different position. “I have raised the issue with Minister of State, Damien English, who said he was surprised and unaware of the policy being operated in the SDCC area. I am not aware of any other local authority that adopts this approach to the Disabled Persons Grant. “This application process breaks, and goes against the spirit of, disability legislation. It needs to be urgently addressed and scrapped. “The policy is also discriminatory against Council tenants because private home owners can currently apply for the Disabled Persons Grant with no bar on them if they are living in mid-terrace house.” Crowe concluded; “SDCC’s current housing policy in this area is cruel and highly disruptive to families at a time when they are facing major challenges in their lives. “I am calling on SDCC to address this wrong and change their policy. They need to adopt a more caring approach to tenants who are facing into huge changes and challenges in their lives.”