11 per cent of mortgages in Louth are currently in arrears according to the latest research from the Central Bank.
At the same time, almost 66% of people are unaware that there are free support services available to homeowners who are in mortgage arrears, a new study conducted by the Citizens Information Board (CIB) revealed.
The finding comes on foot of the recent launch of the communications campaign for Abhaile by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D, and Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar T.D.
Angela Black, Chief Executive of CIB welcomed the report which forms part of the communications campaign, aimed at increasing awareness of Abhaile, the Free Mortgage Arrears Support service, which is administered by MABS. Since its introduction last October, Abhaile has already helped in excess of 4,800 people in mortgage distress.
“We very much welcome the launch of the communications campaign, which has been developed specifically with the distressed borrower in mind. While this service has already brought much needed hope and support to 4,800 stressed borrowers who are at risk of losing their homes, we now want to reach those who are still in the dark and unaware that this service is available to them.
“We are calling on members of the public nationwide to look out for family and friends who might appear fine on the surface but who are in fact struggling with mortgage arrears behind closed doors. They may not realise they have this access to free expert financial and legal advice. Our communications campaign is designed with this in mind, with a distinct focus on the role family and friends can play in encouraging people to look for help.”
Abhaile is available to those who are in mortgage arrears and is operated by the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) which is funded and supported by CIB. MABS has been at the forefront of debt advice in Ireland for over 20 years.
Angela said, “I would encourage anyone worried about their mortgage arrears to contact MABS by calling the national Helpline on 0761 07 2000 Monday – Friday 9am-8pm. The service is free, confidential and independent.
“From there, the MABS Helpline Adviser will direct callers to the most appropriate source of help in their case. This may, in the first instance be to a local MABS where they can meet with an experienced money adviser or Dedicated Mortgage Arrears (DMA) Adviser or they may provide eligible callers with a voucher to engage directly with a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP). The first step is picking up the phone.”