Women are sometimes afraid to leave the family home because they believe or have been told that they will lose their right to it. Laws about property can be complex, so it is best to talk to a solicitor or domestic violence support service about this. However, if a couple are married, neither person can sell the family home without the written consent of the other spouse regardless of whose name is on the deeds of the house.
You may be afraid to leave because you do not know where to go. In an emergency a women’s refuge may be your best option. However, in Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan there is no emergency refuge accommodation. The nearest refuges are in Mayo, Galway, Donegal, and Westmeath. You can contact them through DVAS or directly (details on “Useful Contacts” page of this website) or the Gardai.
Homeless hostels also provide emergency accommodation, but are not as secure as refuges. Unfortunately, there are also no homeless hostels for women and children in Sligo, Leitrim or West Cavan. However, there is provision for crisis Bed and Breakfast accommodation and a woman made homeless because of domestic violence may be able to access this. For further information, on weekdays contact DVAS and after office hours or at the weekends, contact the Gardai.
For longer term housing options you may be entitled to:
- Local Authority Accommodation
If you are in need of emergency or permanent accommodation, you can contact your local authority for an application form. The application must be assessed by the local authority and this will involve an interview. Once assessed and deemed eligible for housing, your name goes on the housing list. You cannot go on the housing list if you are an owner or joint owner of a house, although there may be an exception in cases of Domestic Violence.
- Private Rented Accommodation
If you have found private accommodation to rent, you may be entitled to apply for Rent Supplement (also known as Rent Allowance). Rent Supplement is paid to people living in private rented accommodation who cannot afford the cost of their accommodation from their own income.
If you are on a social welfare or HSE payment, you should qualify. However, you will not qualify for Rent Supplement if you are in full-time employment. You are expected to contribute towards the rent and the amount of Rent Supplement you can receive is calculated by the Community Welfare Officer (CWO).
The amounts paid will vary from area to area and the rules around Rent Supplement are complicated, so it is important to clarify what you are entitled to before you take on a lease.
- Rental Accommodation Scheme
If you have been getting Rent Supplement for longer than 18 months, you may qualify for the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), which is a scheme run by the Local Authorities.
The Local Authority will draw up a contract with the landlord to provide housing to the renter.
The Local Authority pays the rent directly to the landlord and you continue to contribute to your rent but you pay this contribution to your local authority not to your landlord.