(During the period from January 26th to 10th April 2015)
Public Awareness Campaign Launched to Encourage People to Contact Tenancy Protection Service on
FREEPHONE 1800 454 454
From January 26th to 10th April 2015, 107 families, who are renting in the Cork City Council administrative area and its environs have been prevented from entering into homelessness through the implementation of the local authority- led prevention initiative, provided by the Tenancy Protection Service (TPS), Threshold.
The Tenancy Protection Service can be contacted through FREEPHONE 1800 454 454 in Cork from 9.30am to 5pm and callers will receive the following prompt interventions if they are at risk of losing their home:
1. Immediate guidance about rights as tenants and landlord obligations
2. Negotiation between tenant and landlord to resolve problems and take further action if needed, including the referral of a clear dispute to the Private Residential Tenancies Board.
3. For rent supplement customers, an application of an uplift in payment can be made to the Department of Social Protection for families/couples or individuals, who are facing a rent increase and who are at risk of becoming homeless.
Preventing homelessness in the first instance and supporting people to retain their homes is one of the main priorities of central government, statutory services and state-funded homeless services. The TPS is operating against the backdrop of a significant increase in families and individuals contacting local authorities and homeless services for emergency accommodation, primarily due to the loss of their homes in the private rented sector. The South West Region including Cork City Council provided emergency accommodation for 196 persons on the 31.12.2014.
The TPS has been providing this service on behalf of the Dublin local authorities since June 2014 and on behalf of Cork City Council since the end of January this year. During the period January 26th to April 10th 2015, the Tenancy Protection Service in Cork has received 133 calls, of these 129 (97%) households were at imminent risk of homelessness with 107 tenancies protected. Of the 107 tenancies protected, 11 were in receipt of an uplift in payment of their rent supplement with the remaining 96 tenancies sustaining their tenancies, as a result of TPS advocacy work.
Families or individuals at risk are assessed immediately on the grounds that they have received notice of arrears, notice of termination, warning letter, letter of rent increase, or have been threatened with an illegal eviction.
The second phase of a public awareness campaign is currently taking place in the Dublin region and is also extended to the Cork City Council area for the first time (first phase took place when service was initiated in Dublin in June 2014). The campaign is one of a number of key actions arising from the Government Summit on Homelessness in December 2014, led by Ministers Alan Kelly T.D. and Paudie Coffey T.D. A number of actions have been either fully completed or significantly progressed by the four Dublin local authorities (lead Dublin City Council) and state-funded voluntary homeless services.