50 wheelchair users on Limerick council housing list

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THERE are currently 50 applicants on the Council’s housing list approved on medical grounds as wheelchair users or possible wheelchair users in the future.

This comes as the number of applicants on the housing list approved on medical grounds requiring ground floor accommodation or special adaptations is 145.

This was the response from the Council’s Director of Housing Caroline Curley at last week’s Metropolitan District meeting to a question from Sinn Féin councillor Tom Collopy.

Cllr Collopy was informed that the waiting times are subject to a number of variables including the areas of choice selected, household composition and number of bedrooms required, and the suitability of properties available.

Cllr Collopy also asked the Council how many applicants with a need for specially adapted housing or wheelchair liveable homes were housed since 2019.

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“For the years 2019 to 2021, applicants were identified under a medical classification criteria. However, they were not sub-categorised into specific wheelchair needs on our iHouse system. Each applicant was then considered based on their individual needs when being assessed for housing,” Ms Curley explained.

“From 2022 our recording system has been modified to capture greater detail on the medical classification i.e. wheelchair bound etc.

“There are four applicants who are wheelchair bound that were housed in specially adapted properties from January 2022 to June 2022 inclusive.”

Cllr Collopy went onto ask the local authority to outline its policy on housing individuals with disabilities and how the Council can provide specially adapted housing or wheelchair liveable homes for applicants waiting on the housing list.

Ms Curley said that the Council has an adopted policy in the Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028 to promote and provide housing appropriate to the needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities.

“On Council-led new-build social housing schemes, there is a target to design 15 per cent of the overall number of units to a Universal Design standard.

“The UD standard will apply to schemes being initiated now. The UD standard offers a wheelchair-liveable home and will cater for the widest range of potential tenants.

“In February 2022, the Department of Local Government and Housing launched the Design Manual for Quality Housing. It includes typical internal layouts for UD homes, which the Council will utilise,” she concluded.