Threshold prevents over 900 households from entering homelessness in Q1 2024

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  • Threshold supported over 9,300 households in the first three months of 2024
  • Report highlights issue of rent arrears as 32% of rent arrears cases in Q1 concern affordability

National housing charity Threshold prevented over 900 households from entering homelessness, including 1,235 adults and 983 children, in the first quarter of this year. The housing charity supported over 9,300 households during the period, according to latest figures.

The charity’s Q1 2024 Impact Report showed that Threshold advisors answered 11,572 calls and responded to over 1,600 webchats from January to March last. Of the concerns raised by renters in that period, tenancy termination remains the biggest issue with 37% of all queries received by Threshold in Q1 concerning termination.  

Commenting on the latest figures, Threshold CEO John-Mark McCafferty said:

“We are continuing to see a high number of households in the private rental sector have concerns over the security of their tenancy, with termination queries topping the list of questions that Threshold received in Q1 of this year.  

“In the first three months of the year, Threshold advisors completed over 41,000 practical actions for the 9,000 plus households who were in touch with our services. Threshold kept 900 households, who were at risk of homelessness, in their homes or supported them to find alternative housing. This figure alone highlights the impact of our work in supporting renters to stay in their homes, and we strongly urge anyone who is facing challenges in their tenancy to contact our advisors for support.”

Rent Arrears

Rent arrears remains an issue facing tenants in the private-rental sector, as  many struggle with rent increases and the cost-of-living.  . In the first quarter of this year, one third of queries concerning rent arrears stemmed from challenges with being able to afford to pay rent. Over half of all rent arrears cases closed in Q1 resulted in the tenancy remaining in place, and being protected as a result of Threshold’s support and advice.

When a renter falls into arrears, they only have 28 days to repay the arrears or they could face eviction However, this does not have to be the case and Threshold can assist people to avoid eviction, particularly if a person gets in touch as soon as the arrears accrue.

Threshold provides support and tailored advice for these households, ensuring that everything possible can be done to keep a renter in their home.

Often, securing a positive outcome for clients in rent arrears is challenging, but help is at hand. Threshold advisors can work with the tenant and the landlord to devise a repayment plan, which can keep the renter in their home while also ensuring the landlord is not left out of pocket. The charity can assist a renter to apply for a discretionary social welfare payment to pay their arrears or secure the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) if they are eligible.

Commenting on the issue of rent arrears, McCafferty said:

“Rent increases and arrears – in a lesser number of cases – remains a significant threat to housing stability, with some households facing eviction due to financial strain. Rent arrears can occur for a variety of reasons. In Q1 alone, 32% of rent arrears queries that our advisors received concerned people struggling to afford their rent payments. One-in-six queries on the same matter were as a result of changes in household circumstances, such as a relationship breakdown.

“The variety of reasons for these arrears shows the knock-on impact that unforeseen circumstances can have on renters, putting them under immense financial pressure and at risk of losing their home. We strongly urge any private renter who has arrears, who is struggling to pay the rent or who is experiencing challenges in their tenancy, to contact Threshold for advice and support.”

Case Study: Mia

Mia is a single mother and had made a lovely home for her and her baby, but she unfortunately fell into rent arrears. Mia contacted Threshold as she was very worried about losing her home. The stress about potentially being evicted was beginning to impact her mental health and she needed support.

Mia was receiving HAP and fell behind on her payments to her landlord and the local authority. Her rent arrears became unsustainable, and she was struggling to pay. The letting company then gave her a rent arrears warning letter, meaning she only had 28 days to pay off all the arrears or face eviction.

Following contact with Threshold, Mia received support from an advisor who liaised with the letting company and arranged a payment plan that could work for everyone. The Threshold advisor also assisted Mia in applying for an Additional Needs Payment. With this support, Mia has been able to pay off her rent arrears, keeping her and her baby in their home.

Mia’s story stresses the importance of getting help when faced with a challenge and Threshold’s team of advisors are committed to providing this support.

Threshold’s free helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am- 9pm at 1800 454 454, with webchat at www.threshold.ie/advice/help for any renter in need of advice or support.

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