Sunday, 15 November 2009

Massive cash injection for private homes

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has improved and extended its initiative to assist eligible private homeowners to adapt, maintain and renovate their properties.

The authority is proud of its traditional commitment to provide support, where possible, to provide the support and expertise needed to enable high-quality, fit-for-purpose homes, especially for the elderly, disabled or vulnerable.

It has worked hard to put in place an extensive plan for the next three years, making best use of its £8.5m funding to provide not only statutory grants, but also to help others.

It is hoped the targeted investment will improve the quality of private housing stock, enable a better quality of life for many and regenerate and return to use empty properties that can so often have a negative impact on the perception of communities and town centres.

Thousands of people have benefited over the years thanks to a series of grants. That range has now been extended to help first-time buyers, those who need “green” measures in their homes and also landlords who can transform empty eyesores into much-needed homes.

Cllr Paul Cannon, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Housing, said: “The Council’s range of private sector housing grants amount to a substantial investment in communities in Rhondda Cynon Taf. We want to get the maximum results from this money and put every penny to best use to help eligible homeowners with work on their homes.”

“As well as working with individuals to ensure their homes are of the highest standard they can be, the financial support available also means we can continue to regenerate empty properties and, in turn, communities and town centres.”

Grants available include:

Disabled Facilities Grants
1. Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants provide up to £36,000 to adapt a property to the needs of a disabled person who resides at the property, including facilitating access, making the building safe, providing suitable facilities and making environmental improvements. All applications for such funding are referred to the council by occupational therapists.

2. Disabled Adaptations Supplementary Grant assists those who are determined as being able to pay some, but not all, of the cost of the work needed to their home, subject to a means testing process.

3. Relocation Grant for when it is deemed necessary for a person to relocate to a new property that better meets their needs.

4. Minor Works of Adaptation grant to provide assistance towards low cost adaptations at properties, such as handrails, security and more.

Maintenance and Repair Assistance:
1. Aimed at the over-60s to improve security, safety, accessibility, the condition of the property and energy efficiency.

Renovation Grants:
1. Sometimes it is necessary to provide assistance to homeowners to deal with problems that, without intervention, could become a risk to health, welfare or safety to the occupant or the wider general public. They are only available when exceptional circumstances apply and each application will be considered on its own merit.

Empty Property Grants:
It is recognised across the authority that empty homes are a wasted resource and the council is striving to bring such buildings back into use. The below two grants aim to help with this:

1. Empty Property Grant, aimed at helping first time buyers or landlords with the cost of refurbishing empty properties to a habitable condition. Grants of up to £20,000 available to assist in schemes where there is an identified housing need and wider benefit to the community.

2. Financial assistance for the conversion or refurbishment of flats over shops. This grant is awarded to create or regenerate accommodation in town centres, addressing the need for housing, especially for single people, and also regenerating an area in the process. The grants will be aimed in target areas identified by the local authority and up to £15,000 is available.

Energy Efficiency, Affordable Warmth And The Reduction Of Fuel Poverty:
The council is committed to eradicating fuel poverty and improving the energy efficiency of homes across the county to reduce carbon emissions. The below grants assist with this:
1. Energy Efficiency Grant to assist households that are in fuel poverty but do not qualify for funding from other schemes. It will include an insulation grant for cavity wall and loft insulation and also a heating grant to replace defective boilers.

2. Energy Efficiency Grants for first time buyers in Neighbourhood Renewal Areas (NRAs). Penrhiwceiber, Miskin, Tynewydd and Treherbert are the NRAs in Rhondda Cynon Taf and millions have been invested in improving the overall appearance and environment within them. Grants for first-time buyers will assist with loft and cavity wall insulation, boilers, energy efficient windows and doors, central heating and draught-proofing.

Neighbourhood Renewal Areas:
The scheme, as per the above, will continue to be delivered to create a high quality housing and living environment in the NRAs.

All the above grants are subject to application and eligibility, full details of which can be found at:


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