Payment proposal for Irish families hosting Ukrainian refugees expected ‘soon’

Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien said he expected a payment proposal for homeowners supporting Ukrainian refugees to be announced “soon”.

Arragh O’Brien said the government would use “every lever available” to deal with the refugee crisis while continuing with its housing programme.

Secretary O’Brien said the payments would also apply to holiday rental owners, who account for over 60,000 units nationwide.

It comes as Micheál Martin recently confirmed that the government will seek to offer financial support to heads of households in exchange for housing refugees from Ukraine.

The Taoiseach said the immediate focus is on processing more than 20,000 pledges of shelter made to the Irish Red Cross.

But financial help for households with increased living costs, such as additional costs, cannot be ruled out because more people live in their household.

The Irish Refugee Council last week urged the government to give holiday home owners €300 to €400 a month to allow their properties to be used by refugees amid fears the state could soon run out of beds in hotels.

“I know Roderic [O’Gorman] I have already mentioned that the Government is considering payments to individuals to cover the cost of hosting our friends from Ukraine and I think that would apply to holiday accommodation,” Minister O’Brien told RTÉ Tomorrow Ireland Program.

“I expected Roderic to bring that up [the payment proposal] briefly. I don’t have the exact level of what that will look like, but there are people out there who are incurring real costs and that needs to be fought.”

Secretary O’Brien said the use of build-to-rent and purpose-built student accommodation would also be explored to meet the refugee challenge, but said existing student accommodation was “already very scary”.

Local authorities across the country have identified large vacant buildings that could be repurposed to house Ukrainian refugees in the short term.

Secretary O’Brien said about 500 such units have been identified so far, but in some cases renovation work could take months.

However, given the magnitude of the challenge the state faces in housing thousands more Ukrainians, these larger housing centers are essential, he said.

“We have to look at additionality. That’s why I’m talking about the bigger places,” he said.

“One of my own areas is St Ita’s in Portrane, for argument’s sake, which has a lot of buildings on site. Can this be converted to suitable accommodation at short notice?

“Good accommodation, that’s full service. Has water, has heat, has kitchens, has all of those things and then we look at the next phase where the more permanent houses are deployed.” Payment proposal for Irish families hosting Ukrainian refugees expected ‘soon’

Fry Electronics Team

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