Pandemic saw rise in people seeking free legal help, says organisation

Pandemic saw rise in people seeking free legal help, says organisation

Pandemic-related employment and housing problems have led to a spike in appeals for legal help, according to an organisation that provides legal assistance.

Community Law & Mediation (CLM) assisted more than 4,000 people in Dublin and Limerick last year with a combination of free legal advice, advocacy, mediation and education services.

However, it noticed demand for services increased by 33 per cent at the peak of the pandemic “particularly in the area of employment and housing as people faced the prospect of losing their jobs or their homes”.

With hundreds of face-to-face consultations, CLM said it recorded a 60 per cent rise in the number of people seeking information and advice about employment during Covid-19 and a 40 per cent rise relating to housing concerns.

About 10 per cent of those seeking help were at risk of becoming homeless and a third were unemployed. The data gives another insight into how the ongoing health emergency has spilled over into other aspects of day-to-day life.

“We often encounter a lack of awareness of how the law can assist with employment situations, homelessness or refusal of social welfare, issues that are critical to social inclusion,” said the organisation’s chief executive, Rose Wall.

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