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Mary McAleese, Adrian Dunbar, Zig & Zag and Hozier among those reading audio stories to fight homelessness

25 November 2021

Threshold Listening Library launch 1

Threshold, which prevented over 1,000 households from entering homelessness in Q3 alone, launches urgent appeal for funds

National housing charity Threshold has today launched Threshold’s Listening Library, a collection of audio stories for adults and children alike, read by more than 50 of the nation’s most treasured actors, authors, and entertainment personalities. Subscribers to the Listening Library will gain access to a vast collection of audio stories, poems and memoirs, with funds raised from subscriptions helping Threshold to protect families across Ireland from homelessness.

Familiar voices whose audio stories are available include Mary McAleese, Brendan Gleeson, Hozier, Adrian Dunbar, Professor Luke O’Neill, Tara Flynn, Jarlath Regan, Manchán Magan, Zig & Zag, Peter Coonan and many more.

Threshold’s Listening Library offers two subscription options at a cost of €20 each for unlimited access:

  • Spoken Words: podcast containing over 25 audio stories for adults
  • Bedtime Stories: podcast containing over 25 audio stories for children

There will also be a virtual gift card available to purchase for €20, which will grant access to one of the above subscription options for up to 6 months – an ideal Christmas gift or stocking filler. By sending a virtual gift card to a friend, colleague or loved one, supporters will help Threshold to keep families in their homes this winter.

The launch of Threshold’s Listening Library comes at a time when ever-increasing rents and a chronic shortage of supply are causing huge difficulty for many thousands of people trying to make a home in Ireland’s private rented sector. Threshold’s Q3 2021 Impact Report shows that, during the third quarter of 2021 alone, its team of frontline housing advisors supported 7,909 households – representing 10,386 adults and 5,915 children – with tenancy-related issues. The charity’s freephone helpline dealt with 13,945 calls during Q3, while 2,271 queries were responded to on its webchat.

Tenancy terminations accounted for a third of cases worked on by Threshold’s advisors during Q3. However, they found that more than half of the termination notices concerned were invalid –Threshold was therefore able to assist these tenants to challenge the notices and either remain in their homes, or ensure adequate time to secure a new home. The charity’s advisors also intervened in relation to 45 illegal evictions during the period. Threshold’s work directly prevented a total of 1,064 households from entering homelessness during Q3.

Speaking at the launch of the fundraiser, CEO of Threshold John-Mark McCafferty said: “Despite recent, welcome changes to legislation in this area, the outlook for the vast majority of renters remains extremely challenging. At Threshold, our core belief is that every person in Ireland should have access to affordable, secure, suitable and good quality housing – yet the cost of rent continues to rise, supply is at the lowest point we’ve seen in decades and thousands face the very real risk of homelessness every day. Between July and September this year, our advisors prevented more than 1,000 households from entering homelessness.

“Legislative measures to protect renters are being strengthened by government, but this can be a slow process – in the meantime, our advisors are working tirelessly on the frontline of Ireland’s housing crisis, keeping individuals and families in their homes. That’s why fundraising campaigns such as this are so critical; subscribing to Threshold’s Listening Library will help us to continue this vital work. We’re hugely grateful to all of the wonderful actors, authors, musicians and personalities who have donated their time and voices to our collection, and we hope that adults and children alike will enjoy their stories this winter.”

Contributor to Threshold’s Listening Library, Immunologist and Professor of Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, Professor Luke O'Neill said: “I’m honoured to be a part of Threshold’s Listening Library. It’s a tremendous way of raising funds for a really important part of Threshold’s mission. The single most effective thing we can do to fight homelessness in this country is to prevent it before it can occur, something that Threshold is doing day-in, day-out. Your support will go a long way to keeping families safe in their homes during these hugely difficult times.”

Threshold’s Listening Library is now available at listeninglibrary.threshold.ie and will remain available until early 2022, with more stories read by well-known voices to be added over the coming weeks.