Housing charity appeals to public to support Christmas fundraising drive to help save vulnerable tenants from homelessness
More than 100 tenants contacted housing charity Threshold’s Galway office in November over fears of losing their homes – the highest monthly figure to date this year. November also proved the busiest overall for the organisation. Nationally, it took 7,639 calls last month, including 1,991 from the western region (Galway, Clare, Mayo and Roscommon). This is a 34 per cent increase on the October figure in the west and a 29 per cent increase nationally.
Regional Services Manager with Threshold, Diarmaid O’Sullivan said that November was the busiest month for the service this year. Appealing to the public to support Threshold’s Christmas fundraising drive, he said that Threshold provides a vital free and confidential service to individuals and families in crisis.
He said: “Ireland is in the grip of a cruel and relentless national housing crisis and no other organisation tackles homelessness the way Threshold does – by keeping people in their homes. This is by far the most effective way to prevent homelessness. We are concerned about the November figures, which reflect the huge increase in families facing sudden rent increases and illegal evictions over the year. Fifty-five families contacted Threshold’s Galway office in November in relation to rent increases and rent arrears. No one should underestimate the terror and panic people in danger of losing their homes experience and Threshold works to help those people stay in their homes.
“Threshold is the only organisation in the country that provides free, confidential and expert housing advice to families and individuals at risk of homelessness, that challenges unreasonable rent increases and illegal evictions, and that negotiates additional rent supplement payments with the Department of Social Protection, where needed, to keep people in their homes. We also campaign to influence Government policy to make the private rented sector a secure place to create a home. Nearly a third of Threshold’s income is derived from donations from the public and the Christmas appeal is the most important fundraiser of the year. We are asking everyone who is in a position to help, to give the gift of peace of mind to vulnerable families by helping them to stay in their homes.”
Threshold chair, Dr Aideen Hayden said: “Ireland’s housing crisis is down to poor planning and it will not be solved through short-term measures alone. Threshold’s helpline responds to 76 calls a day from families in crisis – if we are to address homelessness effectively, greater emphasis and resources need to be placed in tackling the causes of homelessness. Most of these stem from the State’s overreliance on the Private Rented Sector and the problems within the sector regarding high and growing rent levels and increasing unaffordability; lack of security of tenure; and physical issues with rented properties such as standards, repairs, fire safety and energy efficiency. We are calling on the Government to urgently address these issues.”
Last year, Threshold’s emergency on-call service received 40 calls over the Christmas period and the housing charity will again this year provide this service over the Christmas period for individuals and households at risk of homelessness. Information will be available on the Threshold website www.threshold.ie, on social media, and by phoning the 1800 454 454 helpline.
Anyone wishing to donate to Threshold’s ‘Save 5 families a Day Christmas Appeal’ can do so via the Threshold website, www.threshold.ie, or by phoning LoCall 1890 43 44 45.