As a part of Transition Year, I did work experience with MLRC. I was in MLRC from the 3rd to the 6th of February. On the first day, I was shown around the offices and introduced to the staff team. I then sat down with the Managing Solicitor, Rebecca Keatinge and was provided with some background information of how and when MLRC was established. I was then informed of how MLRC works on a day to day basis. Rebecca explained that MLRC operates from priority of referrals sheet for new cases which illustrated to me the types of cases that are taken on by MLRC and what cases MLRC can have the most impact on.
After this, I sat in on a casework meeting with the solicitors. I noted the large quantity and volume of queries and cases which MLRC deal with on a weekly basis. MLRC receives a number referrals from charities and individuals whom are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The high volume of cases startled me. It really brought home the effects of the housing crisis. I have heard the statistics so often enough on the news that prior to undertaking this work experience I thought I was relatively well informed but after hearing about how poorly so many people are treated I discovered how little I actually knew.
After the meeting I was given the MLRC report on the “Lived Experiences of Homeless Families”. This gave me more background on cases MLRC have taken, what the local authorities are required to do for homeless families and how MLRC has assisted a number of families. I also helped to proof read a blog post and was shown how administration works in MLRC.
On Wednesday I met with Rebecca in Parnell Square as she was going to be pre-recording a piece to camera about homelessness and the role the new government needs to have to address the housing crisis. This was to be part of a video to be released by Raise the Roof with MLRC input specifically in relation to the right to housing. Following this, I attended a MLRC legal clinic in Liberties Citizens Information Centre. Seeing someone who was in a situation where they needed help was interesting. The solicitor was quick to solve the situation for the person and advised them on the law surrounding their issue. Attending the clinic provided me with a clear overview of how the housing crisis affects persons on a daily basis. In the afternoon, I set out again with Rebecca and another TY student. We attended Haven House, a homeless hostel. The purpose of this visit was so Rebecca could explain what Mercy Law do and how to refer someone to them.
On my last day of work experience, I attended the Four Courts. MLRC had brought High Court judicial review proceedings on behalf of a homeless family. The issue had been resolved outside of the courts but the judge needed to be made aware of this. I returned to MLRC in the afternoon and got an insight into the communications side of the organisation. I assisted the administrator in charge of this with proofing content for the website and updating MLRC Media section of the website.
We are very grateful to our TY student for sharing their experience and for supporting our work. Many thanks from all at MLRC!