Deputy Broughan recently asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, to report on how many abhaile scheme vouchers had been issued since the introduction of the scheme by county.  Abhaile is a free service provided to people in mortgage arrears and “its aim is to help mortgage holders in arrears to find the best solutions and keep them, wherever possible, in their own homes”.  Abhaile is administered through MABS, the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).

The reply stated that “under Abhaile, borrowers  who are insolvent and in home mortgage arrears on their home, are provided with  voucher(s) to access independent expert financial and/or legal advice and assistance,  best suited to their individual home mortgage arrears situation.   As at the beginning of December 2018, 14,620 vouchers for services have issued, in respect of 7,777 principle private residences”.

Abhaile was established in 2016 and figures in the reply to the Parliamentary Question show that mortgage holders in Dublin (2,337), Cork, (1,674), Meath (1,248) and Louth (1,022) have accessed the highest number of vouchers during this time, down to the beginning of December 2018.  Galway, Kildare, Wexford and Tipperary also have high numbers of vouchers issued at 756, 757, 570 and 509 respectively.

Deputy Broughan says “The mortgage arrears crisis is a section of the Housing and Homeless crisis that often gets overlooked, probably because of the legal issues ongoing with trying to keep your home and restructure your payments.  The high number of Abhaile vouchers issued in just two years is quite alarming and there have been warnings, including from the Master of the High Court, Edward Honohan and David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Association of a wave of repossessions that could be seen.  There are so many facets to our current Housing crisis and the Government hasn’t been able to grasp and address any of them – mortgage arrears, rental crisis, lack of affordable housing and increasing homelessness are the legacies of this Fine Gael government.”

County Number of Abhaile Vouchers Issued

                  as at Dec 2018

Carlow 365
Cavan 467
Clare 319
Cork 1,674
Donegal 310
Dublin 2,337
Galway 756
Kerry 295
Kildare 757
Kilkenny 263
Laois 260
Leitrim 133
Limerick 395
Longford 267
Louth 1,022
Mayo 362
Meath 1,248
Monaghan 334
Offaly 368
Roscommon 224
Sligo 147
Tipperary 509
Waterford 437
Westmeath 386
Wexford 570
Wicklow 415
Total 14,620