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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 18 October, 2019
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New campaign launched to help families in danger of losing their homes

There’s been a recent increase in Dublin families presenting to homeless services for support and accommodation.

Gwen Connell with two of her three daughters Lauren (left, 17) and Katie (10) protest after being faced with homelessness due to a raising of their rent and a cut in rental allowance.
Gwen Connell with two of her three daughters Lauren (left, 17) and Katie (10) protest after being faced with homelessness due to a raising of their rent and a cut in rental allowance.
Image: Laura Hutton via Photocall Ireland

A CAMPAIGN HAS been launched to help families who are in danger of losing their homes in the Dublin region.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive launched the campaign on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities.

The Government recently published a National Implementation Plan on Homelessness to address adult homelessness.

The Dublin region said that it’s going to ensure this action is put into practice as a core element of its regional action plan.

There’s been a recent increase in families presenting to homeless services for support and accommodation, the majority of which were previously accommodated in Dublin’s private rental sector.

The campaign is targeted at families who may be worried about losing their private rented accommodation for the following reasons:

  • Asked to leave rented accommodation before the lease term is over;
  • Would like to renew lease term but worried about being able to pay, as market rents are increasing
  • Landlord selling home or reacquiring it for personal use or for another family member
  • In receipt of SWA rent supplement and rent increasing after lease term

Commenting on the launch of the campaign Director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, Cathal Morgan, said:

The main objective of the campaign is to encourage families who are renting and worried about losing their home to call FREEPHONE 1800 454 454 for useful advice and assistance in maintaining their tenancy.

“It is critical that families contact this dedicated service for support, as soon as they realise that their tenancy may be at risk.

We are working to try and ensure that families can get as much information and support as they need in order to able to retain their homes in the private rented market.

Prevention

The FREEPHONE is provided by Threshold, the national housing charity, on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities.

When a family who is at risk of losing their private rented accommodation contacts the FREEPHONE, a number of key intervening steps will take place to include:

Step 1 – Family will be assessed and intervention will take place within a 24 hour period of initial contact.

Step 2- Case will be referred to appropriate visiting tenancy sustainment service for ongoing support, if required. Tenancy support services are provided in the Dublin City Council area by Dublin Simon Community and by Focus Ireland in the South Dublin County Council area, Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council area and Fingal County Council area. In addition, housing welfare officers in the four local authority housing departments will provide assistance.

Step 3- If there is a clear dispute between tenant and landlord, the case will be referred to the Private Residential Tenancies for action.

Step 4 – A new protocol arrangement between the four Dublin local authorities, Threshold and the Department of Social Protection will secure a speedy intervention to prevent families who are residing in private rented accommodation, who are in receipt of SWA rent supplement payments from losing their tenancies.

Chairperson of Threshold Senator Aideen Hayden said, “We help over 20,000 people to address their housing problems each year. We are delighted to take a lead role in this initiative.

In the midst of the current housing crisis, it is essential that all stakeholders work together to ensure vulnerable families are supported before they fall into homelessness.

“A focus on prevention is – undoubtedly – the best way to address homelessness”.

Read: ‘If it wasn’t for friends, I’d literally be on the streets’>

Read: A woman who is nine months pregnant was sleeping rough in Dublin last night>

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