On 12 December, Mercy Law Resource Centre were honoured to have Father Peter McVerry speak at our Christmas event. At the event, we thanked all our most generous supporters and reflected on our work in 2017 and 2018. Father McVerry formally launched our Annual Report 2017.
At the event, Father Peter McVerry recognised the very unique services offered by MLRC and noted that no other organisation provides the hugely in-demand free legal advice and representation on housing and homelessness issues. Father McVerry commended the work of MLRC and acknowledged the transformative impact that the work has on vulnerable individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
MLRC Managing Solicitor Rebecca Keatinge also spoke at the event and extended, on behalf of MLRC, most sincere thanks to the very generous supporters of the service, including donors, volunteers and pro bono experts.
The Christmas event marked the launch of MLRC’s 2017 Annual Report and speaking at the event, MLRC Managing Solicitor gave an overview of our recent work.
Throughout the year, MLRC continued to work with vulnerable individuals and families and provided free and accessible legal advice and representation to support them in accessing their basic legal entitlements, including most often, access to shelter. MLRC continued provision of its five key services: legal advice and representation, training and legal support to organisations working in the housing sector, policy and advocacy and a befriending service which are all designed to compliment each other and provide holistic support to our clients, who are facing the crisis of homelessness.
In 2017, MLRC provided free legal advice and representation to over 621 clients, amounting to more than 2,525 pieces of work. In 2018, MLRC has already advised over 720 clients. Managing Solicitor, Rebecca Keatinge noted that the increased work was to meet the ever growing demand on our service. Aside from our client casework, MLRC also supported organisations and professionals working with homeless individuals and families. In 2017, MLRC supported over 100 organisations including Focus Ireland, Merchants Quay, Simon Community, and Crosscare and provided training on housing and social welfare law to more than 300 individuals.
David Joyce, MLRC Solicitor, also spoke at the event last week sharing his own experience of working with the Traveller community and clients from ethnic minorities. David shared such clients’ experience of indirect and structural discrimination in the housing system and the very real difficulties those groups experience in accessing their basic entitlements. MLRC assists a disproportionate number of clients who are from ethnic minorities, including those who identify as Travellers or Roma. David talked about his own work as Chairperson of the Traveller Accommodation Expert Group, recently established by Minister Damien English, to examine and make recommendations in relation to Traveller accommodation policy.
None of the work MLRC does would be possible without the kind and gracious support from all our funders and this was warmly acknowledged at the event. MLRC is most grateful to the Dublin Archdiocese, Mason Hayes and Curran, St. Stephens Green Trust, FLAC/PILA Legal Interest Support Trust and ESB, for their generous support. A sincere thank you is also extended to all those who provide us with in-kind and pro bono support including in particular Sophia Housing, A&L Goodbody, our barristers, our auditors, our volunteer administrators, interns, volunteer solicitor and befrienders.
MLRC 2017 Annual Report is available online here.