Rehab says more than 500 disabled people on Wexford housing lists
Rehab says 528 people with disabilities are on social housing waiting lists in County Wexford, but council officials and councillors say the figure seems a little high.
The charity says the government needs to take urgent action to address the crisis, which is depriving people with disabilities of their basic human rights.
The Rehab figure of Wexford of 528 would be it the fifth highest in the country of people with disabilities on the lists.
However, Wexford County Council said that an analysis of current housing records shows that 386 applicants suffer from 'an enduring health impairment'. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy between the council's and the Rehab figures.
Rehab says appropriate social housing remains a major stumbling block for people with disabilities.
Nationally a lack of availability and choice makes housing a significant issue for the 600,000 people with disabilities living in our communities.
Furthermore, more than 3000 people with disabilities are still living in institutions.
This figure does not include the 1,200 people under 65, most of whom have disabilities, inappropriately placed in nursing homes.
The organisation says the government is to blame for the situation and accuses it of demonstrating a complete lack of priority for people with disabilities.
Kathleen O'Meara, Rehab's Director of Communications and Public Affairs said: 'Ireland really needs to get to grips with how we support people with disabilities to live in their own homes.
'These figures show the Government is failing our most vulnerable members of society. The right to a home is a critical human right.'
Asked about the situation, Cllr George Lawlor, who deals with housing issues on a daily basis, said the Rehab figure 'seemed a little high'. 'The council do their utmost to assist people with disabilities in the area of housing,' he said. 'The letting priorities have changed. In the past the length of time on the list was a key factor, but this has now changed and the condition and suitability of the accommodation you are in carry more weight than the length of time,' said Cllr Lawlor.'The council ploughs hundreds of thousand of euros every year into adaptation grants to assist people who require assistance to remain in their own homes, The figure of 528 would seem extremely high given the number of housing applicant cases I see coming in.. not many of them from people with disabilities. The figure of 528 would represent one in eight applicants and I doubt that,' said Cllr Lawlor.