Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Mortgage Debt Advice Service

Mortgage debt is a major problem today and so I was glad to receive an evaluation of the Mortgage Debt Advice Service, which is funded by the Department for Social Development.

During the first twelve months of the pilot a total of 755 clients, from every parrliamentary constituency in Northern Ireland, used the service and a total of 1,970 housing issues were addressed.  The service directly prevented homelessness for 180 clients and included representation work at Chancery Division of the High Court.

The service is operated by the Housing Rights Service and is good value for money.  The total cost of the pilot was just £97,625 and so the cost per client helped was just under £130.  However it is estimated that the service resulted in a saving of over £1.2 million to the public purse.  This is based on 180 clients avoiding homelessness, where a homelessness case costs £6,840.

This is a good example of a modest investment providing a major return and helping people who have fallen into mortgage debt are being helped week by week.

Unfortunately some people bury their heads in the sand and hope the problem will go away.  As a result they leave it ery late and the problem is harder to address.  Anyone affected by mortgage debt should contact the service at the earliest possible stage.  In that way they are more likely to have a good outcome.


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