New figures on Rough Sleepers concerning, 30/5/13

Mercy Law Resource Centre is concerned with new figures from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive showing a deepening problem of homelessness in the Capital. As reported, at least 94 people were living on the streets of Dublin last month, a rise of 21 people.  Along with other homeless agencies, Mercy Law Resource Centre also warns that the homelessness crisis will continue to worsen due to the recession and that the number of people at risk of losing their home will increase adding to the current number of 5,000 homeless people nationwide, the majority of whom are in emergency accommodation.

The Dublin Homeless Executive carries out counts on people sleeping rough in the Capital in order to assist with the measurement of effectiveness of the regional homelessness strategy and to help plan services. Part of the Government’s policy to combat homelessness is to provide supported temporary accommodation to homeless people and so it is vital that Local Authorities closely monitor the need for emergency accommodation in conjunction with the Voluntary Network.  There is an obvious need to increase emergency bed capacity in the Capital. However, emergency and temporary accommodation is purely a short-term fix and while MLRC calls on the Government to continue to support emergency accommodation, it is vital that Local Authorities and Charities are equipped sufficiently to provide housing with support in order to end homelessness by the target set of 2016.

Disclaimer All information provided on this Blog is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a legal contract between this Blog and any person or entity unless otherwise specified. Click here to read more.

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Housing needs of separated parents, 22/5/13

Our client is the father of a three-year old girl and two boys aged six and eight. He is living apart from the children’s mother. The parents have joint custody and guardianship of the children and both are actively involved in parenting. The children live primarily with their mother but also spend two or three nights each week with their father. They also spend regular holiday periods with their father and have stayed with him for longer periods while their mother was incapacitated by depression.  The father is a tenant of the local authority and lives in a one-bedroom flat. The flat which has one double bed and one double sofa bed is unsuitable to accommodate the children.

Our client had applied to the council for transfer to a larger unit which would accommodate his children but his application was declined because the children did not live permanently with him. Mercy Law took instructions from the client and made submissions to the council, citing the rights of the children to have full access to both parents and the unsuitability of the father’s accommodation in this context. An amended transfer application was then submitted to include the children and the council subsequently responded by accepting the amended application.  The father’s points allocation was increased to the level required for accommodation with two bedrooms.

This issue has arisen in a number of cases Mercy Law has dealt with. Separated parents who are actively co-parenting  their children can have difficulty securing suitable accommodation for regular overnight stays by the children. In this case, the council was prepared to consider the particular circumstances of the family and to recognize that the father was genuinely involved and committed to full participation in rearing his children. The council took all the evidence presented to it into consideration and revised its assessment of housing need in light of all the facts.

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All information provided on this Blog is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a legal contract between this Blog and any person or entity unless otherwise specified. Click here to read more.

MLRC extends best wishes to Rose Wall, 20/5/13

Mercy Law Resource Centre wishes Rose Wall, who was our Solicitor in Charge, all the very best as she starts her new position as CEO of the Northside Community Law Centre today – what is the MLRC’s loss is the NCLC’s gain!

Rose has been with MLRC since 2010 and has been a major contributor to the annual development and growth of MRLC.  Rose has been fully committed to helping individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and we take this opportunity to thank Rose for her leadership, tireless enthusiasm and her friendship.

Rose qualified as a solicitor in 2008, having trained with Malcomson Law Solicitors.  Rose holds a LL.B. and LL.M. from the University of Dublin, Trinity College and is a member of the Law Society Litigation and Human Rights Committees.   Rose volunteered with Ballymun Community Law Centre and FLAC before joining the Mercy Law.  She also lectured in Griffith College Dublin and was a course contributor to the Law Society Civil Litigation Diploma Programme.

MLRC supports Threshold’s call for a statutory code of conduct to support buy-to-let tenants, 9/5/13

Mercy Law Resource Centre supports Threshold’s call for a statutory code of conduct regarding the treatment of tenants in buy-to-let properties, which are at risk of being repossessed.

As many tenants in buy-to-let properties are on the waiting list for local authority housing, the Government does have a responsibility to safeguard such tenants.  Legislation is required to protect the security of tenure for tenants in private rental properties, which have been repossessed by the banks.

Tenants are finding they have no legal standing between landlords and receivers appointed by banks. The main issues for tenants in repossessed properties are:

  • Receivers are not prepared to carry out necessary repairs.
  • Tenants are being displaced from their property.
  • Tenants are often refused the return of their rental deposits.

 

Disclaimer

All information provided on this Blog is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a legal contract between this Blog and any person or entity unless otherwise specified. Click here to read more.

MLRC calls for more training of frontline Social Welfare Staff, 7.5.13

Mercy Law Resource Centre supports the Irish Immigration Support Centre’s call for:

1)      The training of frontline social welfare staff regarding entitlements and supports for migrants.

2)      A coordinated approach between the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Justice in relation to the status of migrants and their entitlements.

Some migrants are not getting the support they are entitled to and often find it difficult to prove that Ireland is now their main centre of interest to qualify for habitual residency to avail of entitlements.

A report in 2012 undertaken by the Irish Immigration Support Centre, Crosscare and Doras Luimní, found some staff at social welfare offices had told migrants they were not eligible for payments when no assessment had been carried out. Other instances were recorded of migrants in extreme hardship being refused urgent payments.

Although steps have been taken by the Department to address issues, it is imperative that front line staff are aware of all current and changing regulations in relation to migrant entitlements.

 

Disclaimer

All information provided on this Blog is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a legal contract between this Blog and any person or entity unless otherwise specified. Click here to read more.