Mercy Law Resource Centre sees emergency homelessness queries almost triple

Mercy Law Resource Centre sees emergency homelessness queries almost triple

Aoife Kelly-Desmond

Mercy Law Resource Centre (MLRC) has reported an increase of more than 180 per cent in queries from people who have been refused access to emergency homeless accommodation.

The independent law centre received over 2,000 phone calls in 2021 and assisted 503 individuals and families at risk of homelessness, according to its annual report launched yesterday.

The MLRC opened 276 legal advice files and advised 44 organisations over the course of the year.

Aoife Kelly-Desmond, managing solicitor at MLRC, said: “2021 was a tumultuous year. While the world at large was relieved at the lifting of pandemic restrictions, for those at the brink of homelessness the easing of emergency measures led to even greater instability and uncertainty.

“Speaking now in late 2022, we are saddened by the continued deterioration of the severe housing crisis. Factors such as soaring inflation and constriction in the rental market have combined to drive more people into homeless.

“At the same time, capacity in state-funded homeless services has become strained to the point of breaking.”

She added: “The last three months of 2021 saw a big increase in people contacting Mercy Law because they were refused access to emergency homeless accommodation. This trend has continued into 2022, with a major increase in these queries in the year to date — up 180 per cent year-on-year.

“These cases are top priority for our solicitors due to their urgency and the distress caused to clients by being denied access to basic shelter. However, homeless accommodation is never a permanent solution.

“The only way to truly deal with the housing crisis is to have sufficient housing supply that meets the varied needs of everyone in society. MLRC believes we must move toward a rights-based approach to housing to put a stop to the entrenched housing crisis and prevent it reoccurring in the future.”

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