2 September 2020
By Tom Collins
The National housing charity Threshold has called on landlords in Cork with vacant properties to work with its Access Housing Unit, a unique collaborative service which has benefits for landlords and tenants alike. The charity urgently needs more rental properties in the Cork City and County areas to facilitate the programme.
The service works by matching landlords with prospective tenants who are at risk of homelessness or living in temporary accommodation. The tenant completes a pre-tenancy programme and is made fully aware of their rights and obligations as tenants. Once a lease is agreed to, the rented property is visited by a representative from Threshold’s Access Housing Unit on a regular basis for the duration of the tenancy.
Assistant Manager at Threshold’s Access Housing Unit, Mairead O’Sullivan said: “By working with local landlords in both Cork City and County, our dedicated Access Housing Unit has supported 78 families – including 75 children – to move from temporary accommodation into more long-term housing over the last two years. We are appealing to all landlords to come forward and work with us to address the housing needs of families and individuals in our community.”
The aim of the programme is to empower and assist people to access accommodation in the private rented sector, through collaboration with local landlords and local authorities. The impact of the programme is illustrated by the case of one of Threshold’s clients, Audrey*.
Audrey came to the attention of Threshold’s Access Housing Unit as she was pregnant and living in temporary accommodation. “Like all young people living on their own, independent living can be hard and sometimes circumstances make it feel impossible,” said O’Sullivan. “Most people might lean on the support of mum and dad but Audrey, now in her early twenties, was transitioning from residential care and did not have recourse to family supports.”
Threshold provided Audrey with training to enable her to develop the skills and knowledge required to secure and sustain a tenancy in the private rented sector. Over and above this, by working with a landlord in Cork, Threshold also successfully sourced and secured a home for Audrey before her baby was born: a representative from the Access Housing Unit continues to visit Audrey to ensure that she fulfils her obligations as a tenant and that all rent and bill payments are up to date.
Southern Regional Services Manager at Threshold, Edel Conlon said: “With limited supply of rental accommodation in Cork, we have launched an appeal to all landlords that may have residential properties to let, to come forward and work in partnership with Threshold to address the needs of our communities. Local landlords have found the service very attractive and many have come back to us time and time again.
“If people are to successfully build a future, they need stability, a secure home and other crucial supports. Throughout the Covid-19 crisis we have witnessed a tremendous sense of community with people in almost every town and parish offering assistance in whatever way they can. Today we are appealing to landlords in Cork to work with Threshold, so that together we can ensure that people in our communities can remain safe and secure in a home.”
Landlords interested in the service can contact Mairead O’Sullivan on 021 4274164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Threshold’s helpline remains available Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm at 1800 454 454, and via its website at threshold.ie/advice/help for any renter in need of advice or support.