28th January 2019
Over 30% of the 11,695 individual borrowers who sought help from Abhaile have a solution in place. A further 53% continue to work with Abhaile expert advisers, with the aim of reaching a sustainable solution to keep them in their homes.
The Abhaile two-year Annual Report(s) covering the period July 2016 – June 2018 were published today by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty T.D. and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D. The Citizens Information Board who manage the national communications and information campaign welcome this. As funders of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service they have first-hand knowledge of those who are experiencing distress due to serious mortgage arrears.
Angela Black, Chief Executive said: “As funders of the nationwide MABS network we are uniquely placed to reach out to struggling homeowners and help them to find the best solutions to keep them, wherever possible, in their own homes. While a component of Abhaile provides vouchers for free financial and legal, it also has many other elements. The MABS dedicated mortgage arrears advisors, recruited for Abhaile, are present as Court mentors at every repossession hearing to assist debtors. Abhaile also incorporates the insolvency appeals process. Duty solicitors are present at every Court possession sitting, and there is access to consultation solicitors, funded by the Legal Aid Board.”
The case studies in the reports show the huge difference that these solutions can make for struggling homeowners. While these sustainable solutions can take time to put in place, the vast majority of Abhaile solutions enable people to remain in their homes. Furthermore, in 64% of court review cases aided by Abhaile during Year Two, the court decided to impose the personal insolvency arrangement proposed by the borrower, which had been rejected by the creditors.
The main successful outcomes of Abhaile at end June 2018 were as follows:
- 11,695 individual borrowers (over 10,000 households) in mortgage arrears have received independent expert Abhaile financial advice and negotiation support, aimed at putting a solution in place.
- Over 7,100 borrowers facing repossession proceedings have received advice and support under Abhaile from a Court Mentor.
- Almost 4,800 borrowers facing repossession proceedings have received legal assistance at court from an Abhaile Duty Solicitor.
- Over 70% of borrowers who received PIP financial advice under Abhaile to date were in mortgage arrears equivalent to more than 720 days’ repayments: this is the priority Abhaile target group.
- Over 3,300 solutions are now in place, or on trial, for insolvent borrowers who were at risk of losing their home due to mortgage arrears, and in many cases facing repossession.
- As of July 2018, over 30% of the 11,695 borrowers who engaged with Abhaile financial advice either have a solution in place or on a trial arrangement, or will have within one year of taking up advice.
- A further 53% of borrowers who engaged with Abhaile financial advice (6,148 borrowers) are still in their homes, and are receiving ongoing support from their Abhaile financial adviser, who is working with the borrower to get a sustainable solution in place.
- 16% of borrowers are not engaging after receiving financial advice under Abhaile. Information on outcomes is not available for borrowers who have disengaged: where possible, MABS seeks to follow up with these borrowers and encourage them again to engage with available supports.
- 95% of Personal Insolvency Arrangements negotiated by PIPs under Abhaile are keeping borrowers in their homes.
- 86% of the solutions achieved by DMA Advisers under Abhaile enable borrowers to remain in their homes.
The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty also announced the extension of the Dedicated Mortgage Arrears service across the MABS network to the end of this year, as an important part of the Abhaile service. “These advisers are often the first point of contact for distressed mortgage holders, and provide advice and assistance to them as they seek to resolve their mortgage difficulties. I would encourage anybody who is afraid of losing their home due to mortgage arrears to take the first step, and call the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) on 0818 07 2000 and seek assistance.”
Minister Flanagan added that the number of home mortgage accounts in arrears has now fallen to less than half its late 2013 peak. “Abhaile is undoubtedly making an important contribution to the drop in arrears for this worst-affected category and is helping those who fell into arrears due to loss of earnings, illness or family separation.”
Abhaile is jointly coordinated and funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI), the Legal Aid Board (LAB) and the Citizens Information Board (CIB) are working together to provide the Abhaile service.