People who have volunteered to take in Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country are to be rewarded under a new government payments scheme.
The Cabinet’s specially convened subcommittee on housing and assistance to Ukrainian refugees yesterday discussed how to recognize the altruistic gestures of people living in Ireland.
The government will sign off on introducing a new monthly payment of 400 euros for people who host Ukrainian refugees in their homes or properties.
The subcommittee also agreed to introduce the acknowledgment payment to incentivize more people to take in people fleeing the war in Ukraine sparked by the Russian invasion.
The government estimates that the program will cost between 20 and 50 million euros per year. How much of this is spent depends on how many people offer homes to refugees.
As of Wednesday, 29,433 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland.
New legislation needs to be drafted to underpin the introduction of recognition payments and their administration.
The conditions surrounding the payment must also be discussed.
The government wants the payment only to go to people who donate their homes or land to refugees on a charitable basis.
There are fears that some property owners could be charging Ukrainians for rent while claiming payment – and ministers are keen to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Those applying to the program must be tax compliant and are expected to provide a tax clearance certificate before claiming the government grant.
A special website can be set up for people to add their details when requesting payment.
The payment does not depend on the size of a person’s home or property, but is paid as a lump sum to anyone who takes in a refugee who has fled Ukraine.
The 400 euros are also linked to the property and not to the number of refugees that a person takes into their property.
This means that a person who takes in one refugee receives the same amount as a household who takes in more.
The Revenue Commissioners are expected to be tasked with administering the payment, which will mirror a similar payment in the UK, but the exact mechanism for paying the money has yet to be determined.
It is expected to take at least a few weeks or even months for the program to roll out.
The Taoiseach and a group of his senior ministers are meeting to discuss the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, and the debate will focus on the signing of the new plan.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Treasury Secretary Paschal Donohoe, Public Expenditure Secretary Michael McGrath and Children’s Secretary Roderic O’Gorman are involved in drafting the Recognition Payment Plan.
The proposal must go to a full cabinet meeting before the legislation is tabled in the Dáil.
The payment will be introduced after about half of the Red Cross’s accommodation offers have come through.
The government initially said it would rely solely on the generosity of the public to provide shelter for refugees.
However, the significant drop in enrollments in aid led the government to draft legislation to provide the €400 monthly payment.
At the meeting, Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien will be briefed on the actions his department is taking to accommodate refugees.
Local authorities were asked to identify public buildings that could be renovated to accommodate incoming Ukrainians.
Government sources said good progress was being made in identifying government-owned properties that could be exploited.
Mr O’Brien also provided an update on measures to address the protracted housing crisis at a separate meeting of the Cabinet subcommittee on housing.
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https://www.sundayworld.com/news/irish-news/cabinet-gives-green-light-to-400-per-month-reward-for-those-housing-ukrainian-refugees-41645385.html Cabinet gives green light to monthly bonus of 400 euros for accommodation of Ukrainian refugees