We are delighted to have linked in with several new organisations in recent months and to be able to extend our reach to vulnerable individuals, who are experiencing serious housing difficulty, and also to support the valuable work of organisations supporting individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness.
Towards the end of 2018, we were contacted by a resettlement worker from the Dochas Centre, a women’s prison based in Mountjoy prison in Dublin 7. We were contacted in relation to an individual case, but the link developed and we subsequently were most grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Governor and her multi-disciplinary team to share details of our services and of the legal issues we are currently working on. At the meeting, we learnt about the housing difficulties encountered by those women leaving the Centre and the range of supports that are available at the Centre. We agreed to continue to work together going forward. Since our initial meeting, our Managing Solicitor has attended a pre-release session with a group of women who will shortly leave the prison. At the session, MLRC answered questions in relation to housing and shared information on housing rights and entitlements. We have maintained a good connection with the Centre since our meeting. We have been referred several new cases and have attended clients at the Centre, and continue to provide ongoing advice and representation on cases.
We were also delighted to develop a relationship with Amal Women’s Association in early 2019. Amal Women’s Association is a Muslim women led service responding to the needs of women across Ireland. Amal in Arabic means hope or aspiration. The Association is linked to the mosque on South Circular Road and is therefore very local to MLRC. We have been operating a pilot housing clinic at the mosque, following referrals made by the Association. We are very aware from our previous cases, that ethnic minority women face particular barriers to accessing housing entitlements and welcome this opportunity to support such individuals and families. We were also honoured to attend an International Women’s Day event hosted by Amal Women’s Association. We look forward to continuing to support the work of the Association.
Finally, we recently met with medical social workers at a Dublin maternity hospital. The session was hugely productive and we look forward to developing a partnership with the team. At the session, we learnt about the huge challenges faced by mothers and their new born babies with respect of accessing adequate housing. The social workers highlighted a number of cases where mothers and their new born babies have been discharged into night by night only emergency accommodation. MLRC has dealt with several similar cases and provided information on how to refer cases to our service and advised on the appropriate advocacy strategies in such urgent cases. We look forward to developing our partnership with the social workers and to providing ongoing support to the women they are engaged with.
MLRC continues to develop our links and provide legal support to a range of organisations and professionals on housing and homelessness matters nationwide. We are available to provide training on social housing and homelessness law and related social welfare law to organisations and professionals. Please contact us, by email, at events@if you would like any further details in relation to our training.