- Charity assisted over 18,000 households last year in total
- Tenancy termination, mainly due to landlords selling property, remains the top issue
November 15, 2023: Threshold staff worked with more than 12,000 households last year where the household was at risk of homelessness, an increase of over 12% on 2021. In 2022, just under 4,500 “at risk” cases – comprising nearly 10,000 people – were prevented from entering homeless services by the charity, according to Threshold’s Annual Report 2022, which was launched today.
Contacts made to Threshold in 2022 included over 47,000 phone calls, more than 9,400 webchat queries, circa 6,800 emails, and almost 200 video consultations. Tenancy terminations remains the largest issue facing private tenants for the sixth consecutive year, with nearly 39% of queries concerning termination of tenancy.
Commenting on the launch of the report, Chairperson of Threshold, Liam Reid said: “Despite the housing crisis in Ireland receiving so much attention over recent years, we have yet to see major in-roads in terms of its resolution. The number of people contacting our advisors for assistance continues to grow and we have expanded our resources to cater for this, along with our work in driving legislative change.
“Through our advocacy and campaigning in 2022, we saw essential policy changes introduced to provide additional protection to those at risk of homelessness, including an extension of the notice periods and a temporary ban on evictions in the latter part of the year.
“Threshold is committed to investing further in our services by hiring additional people, growing our income, and evolving our structures. These measures are aimed at ensuring we can keep more renters in their homes, advise more people, and increase our advocacy on behalf of people in the private rental sector.”
In 2022, Threshold advisors assisted 18,684 (39,108 adults and 14,548 children) households, of which 14,478 were households where a new case was opened during the year. Of those assisted, 10,870 households were seeking Threshold’s assistance for the very first time.
Tenancy termination, usually due to landlords selling their property, was the key issue facing private renters that Threshold worked with over the course of last year.
Threshold CEO, John-Mark McCafferty said that the charity’swork is vital in supporting householders to remain in their homes: “In 2022 Threshold prevented 5,883 adults and 3,905 children from the risk of homelessness. Unfortunately, 455 households that we worked with entered homeless services and 259 were forced to stay with family and friends (couch surf) when their tenancy could not be protected, and they could not secure alternative housing.
“The significant decline in the availability of homes to rent and the lack of alternative housing options for people, has made the work of stopping homelessness increasingly difficult.”
“While the Government is working to address the issue – and Threshold are involved in both the National Homeless Action Committee, and has contributed to the Housing Commission’s working group on Regulation of Rented Housing and Quality – demand continues to outstrip supply and the ongoing crisis is not showing any real signs of abating.”
Advocacy and Research
Threshold increased research output during the year, producing two key reports, including the annual tenant sentiment survey “We Are Generation Rent”, and a report “Renting and Risk” provided in partnership with the Citizens Information board – addressing the risks of renting for all groups of renters. The charity also produced quarterly impact reports, which provide a snapshot of the difficulties faced by its clients and Threshold’s work to resolve these issues.
In 2022, Threshold advisors also represented 278 households at the Residential Tenancies Board and assisted 289 households to submit disputes.
McCafferty concluded: “Housing remains a key concern across many parts of the country, and we will continue to support and advise people experiencing issues in their tenancy. Rents remain stubbornly high – and continue to rise in some areas – while the number of landlords selling and exiting the market remains a major problem.
“We welcome the State initiatives being undertaken to tackle the myriad of factors driving the ongoing crisis, and hope these can be expanded so the situation can improve.”
When Niamh first got the news that she would have to move out, she was devastated, and didn’t know where she’d go with her daughter and dog.
“The first thing I did was take my eight-year-old daughter Aoife in my arms and give her a big hug. I hugged her tight.” She had worked hard for years as a nurse, but a rare medical condition had forced her to stop. She struggled to find a home.
“When a landlord looks at me, all they see are reasons not to rent to me.” Threshold advisors were able to support Niamh’s family by securing them Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), which meant they were able to get a place to live.
“I’m one of the lucky ones. I had a really scary time where it seemed I would end up homeless, but I’ve finally managed to secure a place to live. When that dreaded letter comes, or there’s a knock on the door telling you to move out, Threshold can just be a phone call away.”
Threshold’s helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am- 9pm at 1800 454 454, with webchat at www.threshold.ie/get-help for any private renter in need of advice or support.