MLRC is currently recruiting Volunteer Befrienders, 30/9/13

Mercy Law Resource Centre is an Independent Law Centre which provides a quality and holistic service to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This includes people who are trying to move away from homelessness or are struggling with issues often linked to homelessness, e.g. addiction, violence and abuse, leaving prison, mental illness, family breakdown.

If you are interested in becoming a Befriender or if you would like more information, please contact Caitriona O Hara, Volunteer Co-ordinator, 25 Cork St, Dublin 8 or by e-mail at caitriona@mercylaw.ie   or Tel: 01 4537459.

Our Befriending service

We recognise that the legal system can be alienating to our clients and difficult and frustrating to negotiate.  As part of our service, volunteers are available to befriend clients in order to accompany them and provide them with emotional support as they go through the difficult process of trying to assert their rights.

We also recognise that our clients may have a range of legal and other underlying problems which need to be addressed holistically. We are committed to helping clients identify these issues and to link in with other legal and support services as needed.  Appropriate referrals are key to the service we provide.

Role of the Befriender             

  • To befriend clients of MLRC as allocated to them by the Volunteer  Co-ordinator;
  • To listen to clients in a way that is caring and non-judgmental;
  • To provide clients with emotional support and encouragement;
  • To explore options/choices with  clients;
  • To motivate clients to access legal and other services they need;
  • To assist clients with basic steps necessary to access such services e.g. making phone calls, filling in forms, etc;
  • To accompany clients to court or interviews with people in authority or other hearings as required;
  • To feedback information on client’s needs to the Volunteer Coordinator as appropriate including the need for any referrals, advice, counseling, etc;
  • To undertake relevant training.

Volunteer training and support: 

  • Initial training;
  • The Co-ordinator is available by phone at all times if the Befriender has any questions, concerns, difficulties;
  • Regular support meetings with other volunteers;
  • On-going training;
  • Trial period of six months;
  • Periodic review and supervision with Volunteer Coordinator.

Time Commitment:

  • Each volunteer will be asked initially to befriend one client meeting them as required and appropriate;
  • Usually volunteers will not need to meet with clients more than once a week for up to two   hours but occasionally clients will require more support;
  • Regular volunteer meetings.

Person specification:

  • Excellent listening and communication skills;
  • Capacity to empathize with people with a high level of personal problems;
  • Ability to observe boundaries with clients;
  • Willingness to learn good referral and feedback skills;
  • Understanding the importance of client confidentiality;
  •  Ability to hear and process difficult personal problems.
  • Applicants should note that two references will be required along with Garda clearance.

Click here to read some of our Befrienders’ stories.

Click here to sponsor a Befriender.

 

Thank you for your interest in Mercy Law Resource Centre.

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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Successful outcome on a housing application and housing needs assessment, 10/9/13

Mercy Law Resource Centre recently helped a client to be placed on a local authority housing list and obtain a housing needs assessment letter. This letter enables our client to apply for rent supplement, to subsidise private rented accommodation for him while he awaits housing from the local authority.

Our client had recently separated from his wife and unfortunately there was no prospect of reconciliation. The couple had been living in a house provided by a voluntary housing association but in April 2012 the client left the family home. Since then, he had been living in emergency accommodation with his son.

Mercy Law Resource Centre assisted the client with his application to the local authority to be placed on its housing list.  Mercy Law Resource Centre informed the local authority that our client had to be placed on the housing list to be housed with his son and that our client could not reasonably be expected to live with his estranged wife in circumstances where their marriage had broken down.

The local authority, having considered Mercy Law Resource Centre’s submission and the documents we submitted on behalf of our client, noted our client and his son on the housing list.  It also gave him a housing needs assessment letter which enables our client apply for rent supplement.  Our client would, in receiving rent supplement, be able to afford private rented accommodation while awaiting local authority housing.

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.