Families of residents in nine unsupervised hostels in Letterkenny have given a cautious response to a HSE reply that proposed ownership changes will not have any financial increases for the 15 people involved.
HSE West has confirmed that the Túath housing agency will be taking over responsibility for the hostels in future as part of a new national housing strategy aimed at promoting equality of access for people with a disability.
The HSE has rejected concerns being raised on behalf of the residents over an increase in their financial costs due to their transfer to Túath.
Concerns were expressed on behalf of the residents that the changes would have financial implications for them.
Previously they paid a rent to the HSE and all other overheads were looked after by the service.
It has been claimed that under the new plan the residents will have to pay the overheads to the new body along with the rent.
It was understood that ‘some negotiations were ongoing’ to have the rent lowered amid concerns the overheads will have to be paid by the individuals concerned.
Túath Housing was registered in 2000, awarded Voluntary Housing Status by the Department of the Environment. It is also a member of the Irish Council for Social Housing.
In their response, the HSE told the Tirconail Tribune: “We do not foresee that any of the fifteen residents will incur additional costs as a result of the implementation of the National Housing Strategy and they will continue to receive the health and social care supports from the HSE.”
A spokesperson for the HSE said the national housing strategy is aimed at promoting equality of access for people with a disability to the full range of housing options available suited to individual and household need and to support them to live independently in their own homes with accommodation designed and or adapted as appropriate.
The spokesperson added: “Under this strategy there are ongoing plans nationally to transfer low and medium support properties from ownership of the HSE to the local authorities and, or to approved housing bodies. Nine such properties have been identified in Donegal for transfer and as part of this process, a steering group has been established which are facilitating the work between all parties including the fifteen service users who are currently resident in these hostels which are based in Letterkenny.
This steering group continues to ensure that the hand-over of properties is practically managed and the residents are prepared for the transition which will result in them becoming tenants with tenancy agreements with Túath.
“The steering group has worked closely with the residents, their advocates, members of HSE Management, Donegal Mental Health Services, Donegal County Council, Tuath Management and the Housing Agency to ensure that the rights of the residents are paramount and that they have equal access to all the benefits they are entitled to as tenants in their own rights, for example rent allowance, fuel allowance, living alone allowance, etc.
“An advocate is currently working with the service users to help them prepare for this transition and enabling them to access their entitlements and social welfare benefits.”Tags: