CIB welcomes Communications Campaign for Abhaile, the Free Mortgage Arrears Support service

Two thirds of people unaware of free support available

February 2017

Almost 66% of people are unaware that there are free support services available to homeowners in mortgage arrears, according to new research* conducted by the Citizens Information Board (CIB).

The finding comes as the launch of the communications campaign for Abhaile took place today by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D, and Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar T.D. at CIB’s head office in Dublin.

Angela Black, Chief Executive of CIB welcomed the communications campaign, the aim of which is to increase awareness of the Free Mortgage Arrears Support service called Abhaile, which is administered by MABS and was introduced last October. It has already helped in excess of 4,500 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 4,500 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 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."

Abhaile

The voucher scheme provides five different fixed packages of professional financial or legal advice. These are the Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) Service, the Accountant Service, the Consultation Solicitor Service, the Duty Solicitor Service and the Personal Insolvency Court Review Service. MABS can refer borrowers to one or more of these services, depending on their needs.

On-duty solicitors at repossession hearings, alongside MABS Court Mentors, act as a further support for borrowers should they find themselves in need of help.

Communications campaign

The Citizens Information Board is responsible for driving the new communications campaign, aimed primarily at securing engagement and solutions for those in long term arrears and who have not successfully engaged with their lender.

The campaign involves a comprehensive national and local advertising roll-out, primarily via print and broadcast. There will also be visually impactful outdoor display materials across the country as well as supporting digital and PR activity.

Further information on Abhaile and a list of local MABS offices is available at www.mabs.ie.

Contact the MABS helpline on 0761 07 2000 Monday to Friday 9am-8pm.

*Survey was conducted between 12th and 17th January 2017 and is based on 1,000 respondents across Ireland.

Speaking at the launch of the Communications Campaign for Abhaile were Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D, and Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar T.D.

Speaking at the launch of the Communications Campaign for Abhaile were Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D, and Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar T.D.

At the Abhaile Campaign launch were from right: Angela Black, CEO, Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar T.D., Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D, and Ita Mangan, Chair.

At the Abhaile Campaign launch were from right: Angela Black, CEO, Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar T.D., Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D, and Ita Mangan, Chair.

Angela Black, CEO explains the free expert financial and legal advice now available through the Abhaile Campaign.

Angela Black, CEO explains the free expert financial and legal advice now available through the Abhaile Campaign.