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West Grants approves £2m to improve local homes

Published: Mon, 7 Apr 2014
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Grants help owner occupiers, landlords and private tenants carry out renovations, repairs and adaptations
Disabled adaptation railings
Since April 2013 our West Grants office, has approved 399 Home Improvement Grants worth approximately £2.27m.
In the same period £2.33m was paid out for 404 schemes which have been completed. These grants were paid out by the office, which covers the council areas of Cookstown, Dungannon, Fermanagh and Omagh, to help owner occupiers, landlords and private tenants carry out renovations, repairs and adaptation.
Although there has been a reduction in grants funding over recent years, there are still some types of home improvement grants available.  Mandatory grants such as Disabled Facilities Grants and Repair Grants are available and, where exceptional circumstances exist, Discretionary Grants can also be applied for.  
Disabled Facilities Grants are for owner occupiers, landlords and private tenants provided there is a person with disability living in the house and all work which is grant aided is based on the recommendations of an occupational therapist, in the Health and Social Services Trust.  In the last year the Housing Executive’s West Grants office, which covers the council areas of Cookstown, Dungannon, Fermanagh and Omagh, approved 198 such grants along with 161 repair grants and 40 discretionary grants.
West Grants Manager, PJ Mulrine, commented: “Disabled Facilities Grants, up to a maximum of £25,000, are paid to make the home of a person with a disability more suitable to their needs and improve the quality of their life. I am delighted our team in West Grants was able to approve 198 of these grant applications in the last year."
A family in Omagh ‘are very happy with work’ recently completed where a bath was replaced with a level access shower facility using a  Disabled Facilities Grant. They went on to comment that the contractor did ‘an excellent job’ and the ‘Housing Executive Grants staff were very helpful’.
The Housing Executive as a whole, since April 2013, was pleased to approve 1,068 grants with work being completed in 1,001 properties making it easier for those households to live comfortably in their homes.
Siobhan McCauley, our Director of Regional Services said: “Our figures for Northern Ireland represent a significant investment in the community and the economy.  The work carried out varies and is dependent on the individual needs of the person who has a disability.  
“Typical works include making access in and around the house easier, widening doorways, altering existing bathroom or kitchen facilities to make them more suitable, providing level access shower facilities, ramped access, or providing a ground floor bedroom or shower room.    
“Just as the work varies, so too does the amount of grant. This will depend on the approved cost of the work and the grant applicant’s financial circumstances, as some people may have a contribution to make towards the cost of the work.  However, if the adaptations are for a child there is no financial assessment carried out.
“We also have arrangements with some independent agencies which provide elderly people or those with special needs with help through the grants process.”
We are is not currently accepting applications for discretionary renovation, replacement or home repair assistance grants unless exceptional circumstances exist.  We define exceptional circumstances as works which need to be undertaken:
  • to enable adaptation works to be carried out;
  • due to an imminent and significant health and safety risk to the occupant;
  • if there is a serious risk to the occupants due to structural stability; and/or
  • due to circumstances relating to the health and wellbeing of the occupant.  
If you live in one of the following council areas: Cookstown, Dungannon, Fermanagh or Omagh you can contact West Grants by email on west.grants@nihe.gov.uk or telephone 03448 920 900 for more information.  Alternatively visit www.nihe.gov.uk.