New Service for Tenants

tenancy advice4

NewsFour was present on May 14th, when the Dublin Simon Community launched its new Tenancy Advice Service, in partnership with Dublin 2, 4 and 6 Citizen’s Information Service.

The service was launched by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Henry Upton, who described the launch as “just another step in an ongoing campaign” in the attempt to combat homelessness. The service offers advice to single people, couples and families who have problems with their tenancies and are in danger of becoming homeless.

At the launch event, Sam McGuinness from the Dublin Simon Community appealed for immediate action to be taken to prevent more people falling into homelessness.

McGuinness acknowledged the importance of an additional €50 million housing spend by Minister Jan O’Sullivan, but also stressed the significance of this new service, particularly at a time when 1,600 people and families must resort to living in emergency accommodation in the greater Dublin area, the vast majority of which are often children.

“People are now being shut out of the rental market and have no option but to look for shelter in emergency facilities, or resort to sleeping in doorways and squats,” McGuinness says. “Yesterday, our early morning inner city street count recorded an increase of over 200% of those sleeping rough since January 2014.”

He stated that the Dublin Simon Community is doing everything possible to address these damning statistics, and that they provided the catalyst for the creation of the new Tenancy Advice Service, but he accepts that the organisation faces an uphill battle, with the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive expected to spend €4.5 million on emergency accommodation for people who are homeless this year.

“Without increased housing supply, immediate measures to address the private rental market and changes to rent supplement, our efforts will have minimal impact,” he says.

McGuinness highlights the importance of the service and says that early intervention is crucial to prevent more people from falling into the homeless bracket.

“By getting to people early and keeping them in their homes, we can prevent the need for this type of spend and have the funds directed to helping those who are homeless or at risk,” he says.

Dublin Simon Community’s Caroline Norris, who works with the Tenancy Advice Service, says that there is no economic safety net in place to prevent people from being priced out of the rental market.

“People who never expected to become homeless are seeing their situation spiral out of control quite rapidly. Without the safety net of family or friends to rely on, we are finding that there is often just €200 standing between a person/family and eviction,” she states.

There are many types of information offered by the service, such as advice on how to maintain your tenancy, managing rent and bills, your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and entitlements in relation to housing.

The drop-in advice clinic’s opening hours are 9.30am to 12.30pm on Thursday mornings, in the Carmelite Centre, 56 Aungier Street, Dublin 2.

Pictured: Caroline Norris from Dublin Simon Community, Tony Quinn CEO of the Citizens Information Centre and Liz Carroll from Carmelite Citizens Information Centre.

By Craig Kinsella