Tánaiste says financial support for host families is being worked on, as he confirms that its own offer of hosting refugees will “continue”.
Financial support for people who have taken in Ukrainian refugees is being considered, confirmed the Tánaiste.
It comes after the Dáil heard host families feel ignored by the state as household bills soar.
Financial support is “something that is currently being considered,” Varadkar said, with Ukrainian refugees receiving social assistance separately.
“There are costs when someone stays at your home. And we want to encourage people to invite people into their homes,” Mr Varadkar said.
“These considerations are being discussed between (Equality Secretary) Gorman and Secretary McGrath (Public Expenditure). I am not involved in these discussions, so say no more,” added the Tánaiste.
When asked about his own offer of accommodation for Ukrainian refugees with partner Dr. Matt Barrett told Mr Varadkar: “As for our own arrangements, we are still in touch with the Refugee Council on this.
“It’s progressing but it’s not easy I think, anyone who has been offered accommodation will know at this stage.
“I think a lot of people have made bids and understandably a lot of people are frustrated that their bids aren’t moving forward for a variety of reasons.
“It’s not easy because there are due diligence issues. And the agencies, the Red Cross, the Refugee Council and several others need help and some resources.”
The Fine Gael leader said his partner Matt Barrett registered with the Irish Red Cross to provide housing for refugees last month and offered their guest room.
The Irish Red Cross confirmed today that it will be contacting all households that have promised shelter to Ukrainian refugees by next week.
Charlie Lamson, head of fundraising at the Irish Red Cross, said the charity hadn’t been able to “get through” to around 3,000 people.
So far, more than 23,000 housing commitments have been made. However, some people have reported that they have not been contacted despite having their properties registered weeks ago.
Mr Lamson said there had been an extraordinary response from the Irish public and the scale of the response had presented challenges.
Earlier, Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien said he expected a payment proposal for homeowners helping Ukrainian refugees to be announced “soon”.
Darragh 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.
Micheál Martin confirmed over the weekend that the government will try 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.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/tanaiste-says-financial-support-for-host-families-is-being-worked-on-as-he-confirms-own-offer-to-house-refugee-is-proceeding-41544870.html Tánaiste says financial support for host families is being worked on, as he confirms that its own offer of hosting refugees will “continue”.