Irish government targets 20,000 holiday homes for Ukrainian refugees

Ireland: The Irish government is keen to find up to 20,000 holiday homes that can be allocated to housing refugees fleeing war in Ukraine, following suggestions that the current system in place is not sufficient to address the problem.

It comes as more than 62,000 people have arrived in the country from Ukraine since the start of the war in February and that figure is expected to increase by another 10,000 when the cold winter sets in, according to Irish weather. Meanwhile, around 5,500 refugees are believed to have stayed in rooms or private homes over the past nine months as part of a welcome initiative run by the Irish Red Cross.

Despite promises of support from potential hosts, many say they faced long delays in receiving final approval from state and local authorities to offer housing due to bureaucracy at the council level.

Under the proposed new plan, owners will be invited to register on before being directed to the relevant local authority to streamline the process of matching hosts and refugees. At the same time, recognition payments for hosts are expected to double to €800 per month.

Before the war in Ukraine, the voluntary organization that ran a refugee housing initiative in Ireland typically handled around 150 applications a year, but thousands more rental units will now be needed to accommodate those fleeing the war. According to an internal briefing document seen by The Irish Times, there are more than 65,000 holiday homes in Ireland, but the majority are let commercially for direct bookings or through third-party online travel agencies. [OTAs]the document pointed to 20,000 houses as a more realistic housing goal.

Absorption Minister Roderic O’Gorman and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien pledged their support for the program, including providing more resources and staff to speed up the process.

As Ireland’s refugee housing system comes under increasing pressure due to the crisis, sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, protests have also erupted across the country as locals object to the massive reception of refugees and asylum seekers in some places.

Although O’Gorman and O’Brien acknowledged these tensions, they said the government has “a moral and legal obligation to provide shelter for people fleeing war” and that “the other option is to let people homeless” in times of war. situation.

Similar concerns about the provision of housing for Ukrainian refugees have been bred in UK in August, shortly after Ukraine’s Independence Day, which marked the sixth anniversary of the Russian invasion. As the UK government has called for more people to join the Homes for Ukraine scheme and welcoming refugees into their homes, it was reported that more and more people were becoming reluctant to register due to the cost of living and the supposed lack of additional financial support for hosts.

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