New service to help at-risk homeowners in Cork in mortgage arrears

I commend the establishment of the new nationwide Mortgage Arrears Resolution Service, Abhaile, which will help at-risk homeowners in Cork who are in mortgage arrears.

“My colleagues Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, have launched this innovative mortgage arrears resolution service.

“The new service provides Cork homeowners in mortgage arrears with free, independent expert advice and support on financial and legal issues.

“The number one objective is to help people in Cork to stay in their home wherever possible. The scheme started in late July and is already proving very effective. Eligible clients in Cork are given vouchers to obtain expert advice from financial and legal advisers in order to resolve their debt issues. They can get assistance in court where needed, have access to solicitors, and get help obtaining legal aid. They can also get financial advice from a Dedicated Mortgage Arrears advisor, a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP), or an accountant.

“Mortgage arrears of more than 90 days are falling rapidly and are down to 7.8% from a peak of 12.9%. But they are still too high and Fine Gael is committed to doing more to tackle this problem.

“The new Abhaile service implements Fine Gael’s Programme for Government commitments to help keep families in their homes, by identifying sustainable solutions in mortgage arrears cases. We want to ensure that people who cannot pay their own mortgage can stay in their homes or move to new accommodation that they can afford. We do not want to see anyone foreclosed into homelessness.

“As a Fine Gael representative in Cork I am committed to ensuring that homeowners here in Cork who are struggling with mortgage arrears, and are at risk of losing their homes, can access independent expert advice and help on getting solutions into place.

“I would strongly encourage anyone in Cork who is worried about mortgage arrears on their home to ask for help.”

NOTE:

  • The new mortgage arrears resolution service, Abhaile, encompasses a new Scheme of aid and advice for mortgage arrears and a new national information campaign. This package of support for those in mortgage arrears was agreed by Government in July under a proposal brought by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D., and the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar T.D.  It is expected to cost up to €15 million euro over 2017-2019. Funding for the current year is being provided by the Departments concerned.
  • Further components of Abhaile which will require legislative change are currently being prepared by the Government, in accordance with the Programme for Government Commitments and the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.
  • The overall objective of the Scheme is to help people who are insolvent (unable to pay their debts in full as they fall due), and are in serious mortgage arrears on their homes, to access independent expert financial and/or legal advice and assistance, which will help them to find and put in place the best possible solutions, with priority to remaining in their homes where possible.
  • MABS helpline details: 0761 072000, Mon-Fri 9a.m. to 8p.m.