Four applications for municipal property loans in Mayo this year

Seat of Mayo County Council.

A LOAN of 1.84 million euros for the purchase of social housing and loans for home improvement has been approved by councilors at Mayo.

However, they are unhappy that the sum only supports a small number of people who want to buy houses.

The council, it was clarified, can request additional funding if needed, but in recent years the allocation has not been fully utilized.

Councilor Michael Kilcoyne said the rejection rate is keeping people from applying.

The approved amount was only enough for seven or eight mortgages. Yet there were 780 people on a list looking for affordable housing who couldn’t get a mortgage.

These people, he said, were condemned to a “pit of poverty” for themselves and their children in the future.

Councilor Christy Hyland said the local authority housing loan only applied to turnkey homes – new properties.

They were talking about revitalizing downtowns, but you can’t get a municipal mortgage for a property like that.

Councilor Brendan Mulroy wanted to know how many applications had been received in the past 12 months and what were the top three reasons for refusal.

Councilor Gerry Murray said he understood the application now had to go to Dublin for approval, which was causing all sorts of difficulties. Mayo County Council can say you meet the criteria, but when they go to Dublin they say you don’t.

Services director Tom Gilligan said home loans are a national program. The board can only consider applicants who have received two rejections from financial institutions.

Reasons for denial include insufficient savings, payment history, and capacity with other loans.

The board wants to help people apply. Last year, 17 loans were approved, 10 failed and 9 were sent for further information.

There have been very few requests this year so far, with one granted until the end of April, one denied and two where additional information was requested.

Councilor Kilcoyne pointed out that there were probably so few applications that people lost faith in the program.

Councilor Mulroy agreed there was a “big problem somewhere”, that only 36 people would come to the council for a loan.

We are past the point where people are looking for loans because they barely keep the wolves out.

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