Preventing Families from Becoming Homeless in the Dublin Region

Public Awareness Campaign Launched, Today, Tuesday June 17th 2014
The Government’s recently published National Implementation Plan on Homelessness outlines the commitment entered into, as part of the government's response to address adult homelessness.
The Dublin region is ensuring this action is put into practice as a core element of its regional action plan, particularly in consideration of the recent increase in families presenting to homeless services for support and accommodation. The majority of these families were previously accommodated in Dublin’s private rental sector.
Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Cathal Morgan, Director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, said:
‘The main objective of the campaign, that has been put in place by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities,  is to encourage families, who are renting and worried about losing their home to call FREEPHONE 1800 454 454 for useful advice and assistance in maintaining their tenancy. 
Cathal added:
It is critical that families contact this dedicated service for support, as soon as they realise that their tenancy may be at risk. We are working to try and ensure that families can get as much information and support, as they need, in order to able to retain their homes in the private rented market. 
Senator Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, said: 
‘Threshold has worked proactively since we were founded in 1978 to prevent homelessness, and we help over 20,000 people to address their housing problems each year.  We are delighted to take a lead role in this initiative.  In the midst of the current housing crisis, it is essential that all stakeholders work together to ensure vulnerable families are supported before they fall into homelessness.  
‘A focus on prevention is – undoubtedly – the best way to address homelessness.  Preventing families from becoming homeless in the first place not only means a far better personal outcome for the individuals concerned, but also saves money for the State in the long term.  The initiative announced today is one important part of a range of measures that are needed to ensure all families in Ireland have access to appropriate housing options that are sustainable in the long term.’
The campaign is targeted at families who may be worried about losing their private rented accommodation for the following reasons: 
  • Asked to leave rented accommodation before the lease term is over
  • Would like to renew lease term but  worried about being able to pay, as market rents are increasing
  • Landlord selling home or reacquiring it for personal use or for another family member
  • Ø  In receipt of SWA rent supplement and rent increasing after lease term
The FREEPHONE is provided by Threshold, on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities. It will work with other key services in order to maximise the efforts in response to tenancy breakdown amongst households in private rented accommodation. 
When a family who is at risk of losing their private rented accommodation contacts the FREEPHONE, a number of key intervening steps will take place to include: 
Step 1 – Family will be assessedand intervention will take place within a 24 hr period of initial contact.
Step 2- Case will be referred to appropriate visiting tenancy sustainment service for ongoing support, if required. Tenancy support services are provided in the Dublin City Council area by Dublin Simon Community and by Focus Ireland in the South Dublin County Council area, Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council area and Fingal County Council area. In addition, housing welfare officers in the four local authority housing departments will provide assistance.
Step 3- If there is a clear dispute between tenant and landlord, the case will be referred to the Private Residential Tenancies for action. 
Step 4 – A new protocol arrangement between the four Dublin local authorities, Threshold and theDepartment of Social Protection will secure a speedy intervention to prevent families who are residing in private rented accommodation, who are in receipt of SWA rent supplement payments from losing their tenancies.
This public awareness campaign is provided by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, four Dublin local authorities, Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Department of Social Protection, Threshold, Dublin Simon Community, Focus Ireland, Private Residential Tenancies Board and Citizens Information Board. 
The following spokespersons will be available to discuss the ‘Preventing Families Becoming Homeless in the Dublin Region’ Public Awareness Campaign
Cathal Morgan, 
Dublin Region Homeless Executive (on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities)
Senator Aideen Hayden, Chairperson
Bob Jordan, Chief Executive
To arrange interviews or for further information please contact:
Lisa Kelleher
Head of Communications and Training
Dublin Region Homeless Executive
T: 01 222 6891/ 087 6154673
Dublin City Council Press Office
T: 01 222 2170
Notes to Editor 
Details of Public Awareness Campaign
The public awareness campaign includes featuring the FREEPHONE number on outdoor billboards, transport links, mainstream services that are accessed by families that may be at risk. 
Additionally, workshops for various organisations involved in preventing persons becoming homeless and newly elected representatives will be taking place over the forthcoming weeks.
An integrated information campaign is being implemented across all citizen advice services and homeless services in the Dublin region. 
National Implementation Plan on Homelessness 
Increased focus on Prevention in Dublin region to include: 
  •  Expansion of the families Homeless Action Team (HAT) in hotels
  •  Tenancy Sustainment teams expanding their work with families in private rented
  •  Further ringfencing of accommodation for homeless households 
  •  Housing Assistance Payment Pilot 
  •  Protocol to respond to low income households at risk of homelessness
  •  Implementation of public awareness programme