New campaign to keep families in their homes

‘A welcome step’ but not the answer to the housing crisis

Threshold’s Bob Jordan: “There needs to be a root-and-branch review of the private rented market.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Threshold’s Bob Jordan: “There needs to be a root-and-branch review of the private rented market.” Photograph: Eric Luke

 

A new information and advocacy campaign, aimed at families at risk of homelessness in the Dublin region, “is a very welcome step but not a panacea ”, the main organisation delivering it has said.

Bob Jordan, chief executive of Threshold, was speaking in advance of the announcement today of a new campaign aimed specifically at households with children at risk of losing their homes.

Freephone

The lines will be manned from 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday, by Threshold staff, who will be able to assess a family’s situation, advise them of their rights and where necessary contact their landlord to see if a solution can be found that will enable them to stay in their home.

Where the family is facing homelessness because of a rent increase, the Threshold staff will be able to recommend to the Department of Social Protection that the family get an “exceptional needs payment” on top of their rent supplement, for 13 weeks.

“It will give them and us time to look for alternative accommodation,” said Mr Jordan.

“We will be able to look at available housing stock, whether that’s in the private rented sector or the local authority,” he said.

Bigger issues

This is not a panacea to the wider housing crisis, but we hope it will create an awareness of people’s rights,” Mr Jordan added.

Cathal Morgan, director of the homeless executive, said he would favour rent controls, while also acknowledging that the campaign can do nothing where a landlord is determined to increase rents or take back possession of the house.

It is, however, a recognition that without action the number of families presenting as homeless in the Dublin region could spiral beyond levels that can be adequately responded to.

There are now 143 families in hotels in Dublin, with 299 children. These numbers have escalated since last September particularly.

Pilot scheme

Dublin City Council

The payment is due to replace rent supplement across the State from next year and will be paid by local authorities directly to landlords rather than to tenants.

The Threshold freephone number for families at risk of homelessness is 1800 454 454.