Over 3,000 housing applicants lose slot

by Ian Begley
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A TOTAL of 3,166 applicants were dropped from South Dublin County Council’s housing list, following a review of housing applications for the Department of Environments Housing Needs Assessment report.
Following a request for a report on the current housing list by the council by Mayor Dermot Looney (Lab), it was revealed that on October 31, 2013 there were currently 7,279 applications for housing included on the council’s housing list compared to March 2013 when there were 10,361 applications on the list.
The difference arose as the council carried out the three-yearly housing needs assessment earlier this year and issued correspondence to all those on the housing list requesting reply through completion of assessment form.
About 35% of those failed to reply, resulting in around 3,600 housing applications being cancelled. To date, around 300 of these applicants have made contact and have had their applications reactivated.
Clondalkin councillor Eoin O Broin (SF) has expressed “deep concern” following the significant decrease in housing applicants from the council’s list in October.
He said: “Every three years the council is obliged to carry out a review of all housing applications for the Department of Environments Housing Needs Assessment report.
“Some fall-off in the list would be expected during this review as people move to other local authority areas. But the idea that 30% of those who were in need of housing last year now have their housing needs met or have moved out of the county is simply unbelievable.
“I have already discovered a number of cases of people being wrongly removed from the housing list.
“While applicants received letters and texts from the council to notify them of the three-year review it appears that some of the council’s contact information was out of date.
“There is also the very real issue of housing applicants with literacy difficulties not returning forms.
“I would urge all those who were on the list but who have not completed the housing needs assessment review to contact the council immediately. I would also urge the council to review the 3,166 applications that were dropped … to ensure that no one who remains in the county and in need of housing loses out,” said Cllr O Broin.
A council spokesperson responded to the concerns raised over the drop in housing applicants, saying: “We are accepting late applications/information from previous applicants based on reason for not responding previously.
“It should be noted that it is an applicant’s responsibility to advise the council of a change of address – contact details and if there [has been] any change in circumstances – this is not the housing authority’s responsibility and therefore it is incorrect to state that they were ‘wrongly removed’ – this is not the case,” said the spokesperson.

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