Councillor Joanna Byrne.
Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne took the opportunity at the first Borough District of Drogheda meeting of the year to ask the Housing Department of Louth County Council to make a priority of the 246 people in County Louth awaiting housing transfers.
Councillor Byrne told the virtual meeting that it is only through dire necessity such as overcrowding, medical needs or other serious and urgent personal circumstances that Council tenants apply for a house transfer
“Once identified to be in such a situation of need, it is unacceptable to me then that these people are left languishing for several years with no sign of hope or when they might be transferred to sufficient alternative housing. I personally am aware of one woman awaiting a transfer since 2011.”
With only a small amount of transfers facilitated in 2020, Councillor Byrne has asked for a target number of these to be identified and facilitated this year.
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“Transfers ceased completely for the latter half of last year. This cannot continue. We are starting a new year now and I’m pleading with the housing team to make transfers more of a priority. Set a target and give a timeline as to when these can be facilitated. Let’s give some of these people some hope for the New Year.”
In his response the Director of Service, Paddy Donnelly, said that there are a significant number of households on the transfer list and it is true they don’t get on to it lightly because the Council does not entertain transfer requests based on “whims” which, he said, they "continually bat away."
“Anyone that is on the transfer list we consider to be in need of that transfer and we will expedite those as soon as we possibly can subject to availability of resources and the type of property available. In a lot of cases we are looking at disability challenges in relation to the requirements such as bungalows or two bedroom units which are quite difficult to come across" Mr. Donnelly said.
He said that there is a “hierarchy of need” in operation whereby they engage with social workers and mental health professionals and that the council does action transfers where there is an "absolute necessity".
Referring to tenants who are waiting longer periods of time for a transfer he said the Council was not making light of their conditions but it was just the case that the Council does not have the means to facilitate their transfer.
We don’t have a target for the year because we feel that if they’re on our list we will at some point, resources permitting, be able to transfer them.
“It is down to having those properties available to us and the resources to put them right” he added that the Council do monitor transfer requests on a weekly basis and work to expedite the most urgent cases."
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