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Doherty lobbies DSD Minister on suspension of Home Improvement Grants.

6 July, 2009


Sinn Fein West Tyrone MP MLA Pat Doherty says that many elderly constituents have been dealt a double blow by being not only told that Housing Executive Improvement Grants for long awaited improvements to their homes have been suspended but by also being told that they would have to reapply afresh if and when additional funding becomes available for these grants.

Pat Doherty has now written to Department of Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie asking for a timeframe for the re-instatement of funding for this improvement work to homes and requesting that existing applications are allowed to stand and be granted in order of approval once additional funding becomes available.

Mr Doherty said,

“I have been contacted by constituents who are deeply distressed at having received letters from the Housing Executive Grants Office stating that all grant funding for improvement work (with the exception of Disabled Facility Grants and Landlord Public Health Notices) has been suspended and that they would have to now make a fresh application for grant assistance when additional funding becomes available.

“Most of the applicants awaiting grant assistance are elderly and have already went through a prolonged process of application and assessment (many to a point whereby they were informed that their applications had been approved) only to be now told that not only is the improvements grants scheme being suspended but that they would now have to make a fresh application once again.

“I have now written to Margaret Ritchie asking her to provide a timeframe for the re-instatement of funding for Improvement Grants and as to whether she has made a bid to secure additional funding for this purpose in the June monitoring round.

“Moreover, as there is no rationale for making existing applicants re-apply, I have asked her to ensure that existing applications are allowed to stand and that they are subsequently grant funded in order of approval once additional funding become available. ENDS

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