Through our casework, we identify issues which unduly affect our client group. Our policy work is informed by this on-the-ground experience and aims to advocate to change harmful laws, policies and attitudes. We advocate to ensure people who are homeless have equal and effective access to justice.
Where possible we collaborate with others to work together to bring about meaningful change. 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.
We are a founding member of the ‘Home for Good’ coalition which is a group of interested parties calling for recognition of the right to housing in the Constitution. We also chair the legal sub-group of Home for Good.
MLRC has published 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 the Legal Protection, September 2018
In July 2022 MLRC appeared on behalf of Home for Good before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing to discuss the right to housing. A video of our appearance is available here.
Also in July 2022, The Housing Commission launched a public consultation seeking views on a Referendum on Housing in Ireland. The Commission asked that submissions should consider the need for a constitutional amendment and, if so, what form it should take. See MLRC’s submission on the public consultations here.
We previously appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on this topic and related homelessness matters in June 2019, June 2018 and May 2016. In 2016, MLRC also appeared before the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva to speak about our work and the gaps in legal protection for those who are homeless in Ireland, focusing on the need for the recognition of the right to housing in Ireland.
Also in July 2022, The Housing Commission launched a public consultation seeking views on a Referendum on Housing in Ireland. The consultation asked that submissions should consider the necessity of a constitutional amendment and, if so, what form it should take. See MLRC’s submission on the public consultations here.
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.
In March 2021 MLRC published a report Minority Groups and Housing: Barriers to Access which highlighted these issues and made practical recommendations for reform. The report was launched by the Minister for Housing and MLRC had a follow-up meeting with the Minister to discuss recommendations arising from the report.
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 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.
On 12 June 2019, MLRC presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government in relation to child and family homelessness. 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.