MABS To Get New Tools To Aid Homeowners
Struggling homeowners will soon be able take advantage of one of the 27 special Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) outlets nationwide and will also be able to consult with court “mentors” during hearings. The Department of Social Protection is increasing the ability of MABS to assist distressed mortgage holders through a number of different measures including a greater role in offering information and advice through all stages of the mortgage arrears resolution process (MARP).
New measures to help those in debt
The new measures will also target dedicated mortgage arrears, focusing on cases which have been through MARP. This will help the mortgage holder to assess whether the option on offer from the lender is the “best and most sustainable option”. They will also be able to negotiate with the lender on behalf of the client where required.
16 such MABS services are proposed to be in operation with a further 11 to be in place by the year end to ensure nationwide coverage. The services will also have an in–house personal insolvency practitioner (PIP) role for those homeowners who are at imminent risk of losing their home and cannot afford to pay for professional advice in order to deal with their debt. A public PIP is curently being piloted in Waterford MABS and bankruptcy advice in Cork MABS.
A national network of “court mentors” is also being established by MABS. The mentors will attend court with clients and offer support and advice on the proceedings as well as direct referral back to MABS where a case is adjourned. The court mentoring service has been trialled at six locations around the country. This service is to be expanded in the coming weeks. The Department of Social Protection said an “extensive” communications and publicity campaign highlighting the new services is due to be launched from mid–September.
MABS Locations in Ireland
The proposed locations for the first 16 dedicated mortgage arrears MABS are: Dundrum, Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Clonmel, Thurles, Tralee, Limerick, Ennis, Galway, Castlebar, Roscommon, Cavan, Navan, Newbridge, Arklow, and Carlow.