Through our casework, we identify issues which affect our client group and work to bring about changes to policy which would be of broader benefit. Our policy work is informed by our extensive engagement with the issues on the ground and our niche expertise and knowledge of housing and homelessness law and policy.
Our aim is to advocate effectively on behalf of our client group in order to change those laws, policies and attitudes which unduly and adversely impact on them. Such impacts deprive them of the means to improve their lives, undermining their right to live in dignity in the security of a home. We advocate to ensure people who are homeless have equal and effective access to justice.
We recognise the value of working with other persons and organisations in this area and are committed to doing so in pursuit of our aims. All of our publications are available here
Our advocacy is currently focused on three main areas:
Right to housing
MLRC continues to advocate for legal protection of the right to housing. To date, MLRC has launched a trilogy of reports on the right to housing:
- The Right to Housing in Ireland, May 2016
- The Right to Housing in Comparative Perspective, March 2018
- Children and Homelessness – A Gap in Legal Protection, September 2018
In March 2016, MLRC appeared before the Universal Periodic Review, Geneva, to speak about our work and the gaps in legal protection for those who are homeless in Ireland, focusing on the need for protection of the right to housing in Ireland. MLRC presented to the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness on 10 May 2016 with respect of the right to housing. MLRC presented to the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government on 12th of June 2018 on the right to housing. Subsequently, MLRC presented to the the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government on 12th of June 2019 on the issues relating to child and family homelessness. MLRC has been working in coalition to advocate for legal protection of the right to housing. In January 2020, MLRC together with a number of other organisations launched Home for Good, a group calling for Constitutional Protection on the right to housing. To learn more about the work of Home for Good visit the website here and read details of the launch.
Issues arising in emergency accommodation
MLRC has repeatedly raised urgent concern in relation to the manner in which homeless accommodation is provided to vulnerable individuals and families, and has called for legal reform to move towards a rights-based framework.
In June 2017, MLRC made a submission to the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government with regard to the provision of emergency accommodation by local authorities and continues to advocate for improvements to the provision. On 12 June 2019, MLRC made a statement and presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government in relation to child and family homelessness.
In December 2020, MLRC launched a report, “The Lived Experiences of Homeless Families”, the report documented the experiences of many of our clients and set out the issues by way of personal and professional voices. The report contained several recommendations that provide for the core of our advocacy going forward in 2020. Read the report here and read details of the launch.
Discrimination in relation to accessing housing entitlements
MLRC acts for a high proportion of ethnic minority clients, including members of the Traveller community and individuals of Roma ethnicity. We have identified a number of legal barriers that make it difficult for such applicants to access their housing entitlements. We are currently researching this issue for the purpose of making recommendations to counter the discrimination our clients have experienced.