A critical element of Waterford County Council’s housing programme was the maintenance of homes and housing estates, the Council budget meeting was told in Dungarvan before Christmas.

The Council will continue its planned €2 million maintenance programme in 2010, replacing bathrooms and kitchens and providing insulation, radon testing and other remediation works, as well as the upgrading of electrics.

New housing standards and building regulations provided an opportunity to upgrade houses and ensure that they conformed to modern standards in terms of safety and comfort, said Director of Services Denis McCarthy.

The maintenance budget of €531,077 for 2010 would ensure a timely response for requests for repairs, he said.

The appointment of a full time Tenant Liaison Officer led to significant work in the areas of estate management and anti-social behaviour, he stated. A total of 27 residents associations had been appointed to date and all cases of anti-social behaviour were being investigated and discussed with the housing officer and social worker as well as the Gardai and the HSE. Consultations were ongoing with residents of estates through face-to-face interviews, estate walkabouts, leaflet, letters and e-mails.

Pre-tenancy training was being provided to all housing applicants prior to any letting and residents were provided with training in relation to meeting skills, drug awareness and domestic violence awareness.

A 56 house scheme was currently under construction in Tramore consisting of both social and affordable housing and it was estimated that approximately 50 units would be provided during 2010. The Council would continue to work in partnership with voluntary and housing co-operatives and an additional 15 houses for the elderly would be completed by the voluntary sector in 2010.

Provision of €1,250,000 was made in the budget for grants in respect of the Housing Adaptation Scheme for people with a disability.