Scheme for distressed mortgage holders extended

Cost of extending Abhaile for three years will be €17.2m, when it will be wound down

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan welcomed the decision by Cabinet to extend the scheme for three more years.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan welcomed the decision by Cabinet to extend the scheme for three more years.

 

A scheme that helps mortgage holders in arrears resolve their debt problems is to be extended for a further three years, the Government confirmed on Wednesday.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty brought a joint memo on the Abhaile scheme to Cabinet at its weekly meeting.

Abhaile is run by the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (Mabs). It was set up in 2016 and will now run for until 2022.

The cost of extending the scheme will be €17.2 million, with the third year of the extended period set aside to wind down the scheme. A further €7.5 million will fund the extension of the connected dedicated mortgage arrears service within Mabs.

“This is a scheme which has helped many already and which we intend will continue, and help many more over the next three years,” said Mr Flanagan.

“It is a scheme which is working. To date 82 per cent of those advised are either on the road to getting a solution, or already have one in place.”

Ms Doherty added: “Abhaile helps to put in place personal insolvency arrangements, alternative repayment plans, or other arrangements such as Mortgage to Rent, that are tailored to the borrower’s individual situation.”

The scheme has so far provided financial advice and negotiation support to over 12,000 households at risk of losing their homes, while its court mentors have provided advice to nearly 11,000 unrepresented borrowers at repossession court sittings.

Furthermore, its duty solicitors have provided legal advice and help at repossession court sittings to more than 6,000 unrepresented borrowers.

The Government said more than 30 per cent of all borrowers who have been advised by Abhaile already have a solution in place or on trial. The “vast majority” of those solutions are keeping the borrowers in their homes. About 3 per cent lost their homes.