Since the onset of Covid-19 in Ireland, MLRC has intensified its provision of essential services including our legal advice outreach and legal representation, adapting how we work in light of the current health crisis.
All MLRC staff are working on a remote basis in line with public health advice. Our legal service has adapted to be accessible and supportive to vulnerable groups facing housing difficulties. Ireland’s housing crisis is now a potential health crisis for people in homeless accommodation or overcrowded housing, particularly individuals with specific health or other vulnerabilities. Our solicitors continue to provide expert legal advice and representation to vulnerable individuals and frontline organisations through telephone and video consultations.
Our solicitors have familiarised themselves with new emergency legislation and new policy developments and are therefore well-placed to promote and provide accurate legal information and advice to those currently in housing difficulty. As well as responding to a number of urgent individual cases, MLRC has also been advising frontline organisations on new legislation and policy to ensure that they are informed and empowered with accurate information in order to support their own clients.
MLRC has focused on disseminating information in relation to new emergency legislation and policy to ensure that individuals and frontline organisations fully understand the rights of tenants and/or homeless individuals and how they can access key services and remedies. We have been using our digital resources to circulate this information. We recently published a guide on the new Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 and how this affects notices of termination, rent and evictions. We provided analysis and proposed amendments during the passage of the legislation. We have also been working on a ‘Know Your Rights’ toolkit which is intended to educate and inform local community workers in their work with homeless individuals and families in light of new legislation. We would like to extend our thanks to ESB Aid for Generations for their support of the ‘Know Your Rights’ toolkit.
MLRC frequently supports victims of domestic violence, those with underlying health conditions, individuals with mental illness, and isolated individuals. These groups are particularly vulnerable during this health crisis and our services have proven crucial for many people during this time. We are currently engaged on a number of urgent cases, advising individuals and families who are residing in wholly unsuitable and overcrowded accommodation, many with specific medical needs, as well as a number of isolated individuals and families in the private rented sector who are at risk of homelessness.
MLRC is also working with our volunteer befrienders to support the needs of current clients. We are working to link our volunteer befrienders with clients who may be struggling or isolated during this time. Given the current health crisis our befrienders have shown themselves to be flexible and innovative, being available to support our clients on a remote basis through telephone and video calls. This form of support can be crucial to our clients who may not have a support system of their own especially during this stressful time.
MLRC is most grateful to all our funders and supporters, without whom our work would not be possible.