Minister Michael Ring Opens IWA Housing Development

Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) Opens Seven Homes for People with Physical Disabilities in Belmullet, Co. Mayo

Friday, 20th October 2017

Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) and Mayo County Council’s social housing development – An Fraoch was officially opened by Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural & Community Development, on Friday 20th October 2017 at Logmore, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. The seven, two bedroomed, wheelchair accessible homes were built by IWA and the design of each home was tailored to the specific requirements of the future tenants.

IWA is a Voluntary Housing Association and provides accommodation which is designed to give people with physical disabilities an opportunity to live independently within their local community. The new housing development, opened in Belmullet today cost €1.25m to build and was financed through the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS).

In order to enhance independent access for tenants, IWA installed a range of assistive technology features in each house including; automatic closers and openers for external and internal doors, windows, blinds and curtains. IWA also installed height adjustable kitchen worktops and wardrobe hanging rails in each house. The assistive technology was funded through the Community Gains Fund established by Mayo County Council (€225,000) and by the local IWA Voluntary Branch (€25,000).

Image of Minister Michael Ring with Rosaleen Lally - IWA Service Coordinator

Speaking at the official opening of An Fraoch, Minister for Rural & Community Development, Michael Ring TD said:

This beautiful housing development, which cost €1.25 million to build, was largely financed by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. This represents an excellent use of Government funding which will stand to the community in Belmullet for years to come. As local TD and Minister, I was glad to be able to support this worthwhile project and it gives me great satisfaction to see it come to fruition. These homes will really improve people’s quality of life and will give comfort and peace of mind to the families of those who live here. I commend the Irish Wheelchair Association for these wonderful homes and for the great work they do to support people with physical disabilities here in Mayo.

One of the single biggest issues facing people with physical disabilities is finding suitable and affordable housing. People with disabilities have always faced challenges in living independently in the community and one of the greatest barriers to independent living is finding suitable wheelchair accessible accommodation. As the housing and homeless crisis continues, it is having a greater impact than ever on people with disabilities. Housing stock has been depleted, fewer wheelchair accessible houses are being built, and supply is a very serious issue.

Image of Minister Michael Ring meeting with IWA member

According to IWA’s National Director of Housing Tony Cunningham:

People with disabilities have very specific housing requirements and often find it difficult to gain access to their preferred living situation. Standard homes, private and social housing are not generally wheelchair accessible. Over 4,500 people with disabilities are currently seeking affordable, accessible and appropriate accommodation according to the most recent Housing Needs Assessment conducted by the Department of Housing. This development in Belmullet shows how IWA are working in partnership with Local Authorities and other organisations to provide permanent homes for people with disabilities in need of housing in a community of their choice.

The seven homes at Logmore, Belmullet are part of an integrated community development project. The wheelchair accessible homes are located alongside IWA’s Community Resource Centre and tenants can also enjoy IWA’s range of community support services. Modern assistive technology has been installed in each home to support and assistant tenants to live as independently as possible.

Teresa Gaughan, one of the new tenants and has been living in her own home at An Fraoch for almost a month now:

Today is a very special day for me and my new neighbours. I am delighted to finally have a home of my own which is located in the heart of the community too. I was on the Housing List for 6 years and for a long time I did not think I would ever get the opportunity to move into my own house. It was very important for the tenants to have an input into the design of their respective homes, to ensure it reflects their personal requirements. I know I will be very happy and comfortable in my home for many years to come.

Image of Minister Michael Ring meeting with IWA member

For further information about IWA Housing Developments please visit click here

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