The government will spend 5 million euros to renovate and maintain buildings owned by religious orders to accommodate Ukrainian war refugees.
The Department for Children, which is leading the state’s effort to accommodate refugees, has held talks with the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI) to secure free or low-cost church housing.
The buildings would be used to house Ukrainian refugees and possibly other people seeking international protection after fleeing oppressive regimes.
AMRI told government officials that its members’ properties could be offered free of charge provided the properties were maintained, utilities paid and assistance provided to the refugees housed in those properties.
The government is considering whether charities or voluntary organizations or approved housing organizations will be responsible for maintaining the properties and supporting those who stay there.
“Although it is difficult to predict the cost, it is hoped that this mechanism could yield a significant number of additional housing units at a cost of around 5 million euros,” read a government memo.
Meanwhile, a senior government source said migrants were “reluctant” to accept housing pledges from members of the public because they would leave their new communities and the support networks they had built in hotels or student residences.
A non-governmental organization, the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM), has now been dispatched to help refugees move into promised shelter.
At the beginning of the war in Ukraine, more than 25,000 shelters were promised through the Red Cross.
Around 15,000 of them could not be reached or withdrew their commitment.
About 3,000 of the commitments are vacant apartments.
About 6,500 of these are communal shelters that have to be checked by Red Cross workers.
Almost 3,000 refugees have so far moved into promised accommodation.
Between 5,000 and 6,000 refugees were accommodated in student housing earlier this summer, while 3,500 Ukrainians remain there.
However, people are being relocated to hotels that become vacant as the summer season progresses and students prepare to go back to college.
Government sources have conceded that the coming weeks, particularly the second half of August, will pose a “challenge” in finding shelter for refugees.
Last week it emerged that the Aviva stadium is being used as a temporary shelter for refugees. The Sports Department contacted a number of sports bodies, including the GAA and IRFU, to provide support.
Last month the government introduced stricter visa requirements for refugees entering Ireland from some European countries.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/state-to-cover-5m-revamp-bill-for-church-buildings-to-aid-ukrainian-refugees-41886300.html The state takes on 5 million euros for the renovation of church buildings to help Ukrainian refugees