We were delighted to launch our Annual Report 2021 on 27 October 2022. You can read the report here: Annual Report 2021
Fr Peter McVerry, founder of the Peter McVerry Trust, formally launched the report. Fr McVerry spoke passionately about the policy failures that have led to our deepening housing crisis, the importance of compassion, and of respecting the dignity of those facing homelessness.
Reflecting back on 2021, Managing Solicitor Aoife Kelly-Desmond addressed the launch about the deterioration in the housing crisis toward the end of 2021 and the consequent increase in clients contacting Mercy Law because they were refused access to emergency homeless accommodation. The launch heard that trend has unfortunately continued into 2022, with a more than 180% increase in these queries so far in 2022.
Overall, in 2021 MLRC:
- Received over 2,000 phone calls
- Assisted 503 individuals and families at risk of homelessness
- Opened new 276 legal advice files
- Advised 44 organisations
Discussing the report ahead of the launch, Managing Solicitor Aoife Kelly-Desmond said:
“2021 was a tumultuous year. While the world at large was relieved at the lifting of pandemic restrictions, for those at the brink of homelessness the easing of emergency measures led to even greater instability and uncertainty. Speaking now in late 2022, we are saddened by the continued deterioration of the severe housing crisis. Factors such as soaring inflation and constriction in the rental market have combined to drive more people into homeless. At the same time, capacity in state-funded homeless services has become strained to the point of breaking.
The last three months of 2021 saw a big increase in people contacting Mercy Law because they were refused access to emergency homeless accommodation. This trend has continued into 2022, with a major increase in these queries in the year to date (up 180% year-on-year). These cases are top priority for our solicitors due to their urgency and the distress caused to clients by being denied access to basic shelter. However, homeless accommodation is never a permanent solution. The only way to truly deal with the housing crisis is to have sufficient housing supply that meets the varied needs of everyone in society. MLRC believes we must move toward a rights-based approach to housing to put a stop to the entrenched housing crisis and prevent it reoccurring in the future.”
Our sincere thanks to Fr McVerry for launching the report; to all our staff, volunteers, board members and friends for their support over the year; and to the Sophia Housing Wisdom Centre for hosting the launch.