Gemma and Eibhlin are two dedicated Clúid workers who are helping families through the process of the Mortgage-to-Rent scheme. They see the reality of the stress and misery that people experience.
Unfortunately, the dream of owning a home has turned into a nightmare for many people who now find themselves struggling to meet their mortgage payments.
“We receive very distressing calls even before the property is assigned to Clúid”, says Gemma. “Often, it’s the first time that the individual gets to offload everything so they give you the full history which can be really traumatic. Most have young families and are at the stage of eviction proceedings so they are really worried about their children. They’re terrified of becoming homeless.”
Each case brings its own unique problems. One case that Gemma and Eibhlin dealt with was a mother and daughter household.
“This was a really unusual case,” Gemma tells me. “The daughter is in her late twenties and requires 24-hour care because she has a range of disabilities. Over the years, they availed of grants through the local authority to have works done to the house. So it was really important to them to remain in a home that was already adapted to suit the young woman’s needs. They were terrified of losing their home because the mortgage had become unsustainable.”
Both Gemma and Eibhlin worked on this case but met many problems along the way. Rather than give up, though, when all other routes were closed, Gemma persisted and applied for funding from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s Capital Assistance Scheme. The application was successful and the case will have a happy ending after all.
“They could have been homeless”, says Eibhlin. “There has been a huge amount of work for everybody just to get that one property across the line. Between ourselves, the Housing Agency, the local authority, the Department and the lender, there were a lot of people involved to make it work for that family.”
Like any new scheme, Mortgage-to-Rent is still finding its way. One of the problems identified is the number of stakeholders who can be involved in any one case. It can make for slow administration at times, which is frustrating, but Gemma and Eibhlin are totally committed.
“Yes – it’s a new scheme,” says Eibhlin, “so it’s not perfect yet. But for those who need it the most, it’s a lifeline. It really is important that all stakeholders – us, the lenders, the local authorities, the Housing Agency and Government Departments – remain committed”.