46% of social housing in Waterford refused

Two thirds of applicants who refuse social housing offers in Waterford city and county “do not have a current housing need” as such, a council official has said.

Most applicants “may desire a different tenure type”, a housing officer said.

Administrative officer for homeless services, allocations, and tenancy management, Siobhán Breathnach, explained a clarification as latest figures showed a 46% refusal rate for social housing in the area over a year-long period.

Reasons for rejections of offers, she said, included a house being too small/old; no children’s play area (city centre); and unsuitable structures, such as stairs.

She said some properties were also rejected on the grounds of either being in a busy city centre environment or not close enough to the city centre.

In some cases, applicants failed to keep appointments.

Failure to accept “two reasonable offers” within a 12-month period leads to applicants being excluded from consideration for a year.

Ms Breathnach said most applicants are “satisfied to remain in their existing accommodation, with the benefit of rent supplement, such as in existing private estates, or in good quality accommodation in an area they have become accustomed to”.

Under the council’s allocations scheme, priority is given to applicants living in dangerous or potentially dangerous buildings; rendered homeless by fire, flood, storm damage, with urgent requirement for a building for redevelopment; homeless; aged 65 or more; having disabilities; or members of the Traveller community.

Outside those categories, preference is through a points system, while separate criteria apply regarding transfers and tenancy succession.

Director of services for housing Michael Quinn said the council would review ways to reduce the refusal rate. Consideration may lean towards a “choice-based letting scheme” which allows housing applicants to make decisions over where they live, and tenure type.


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