Attorney General Helen McEntee has indicated that she personally would like homeowners, landlords and holiday home owners to be financially rewarded for providing shelter to Ukrainian war refugees.
Inister McEntee, who visited a “one-stop-shop” support center for Ukrainian refugees in Limerick City, said the government is considering “some form of financial assistance, whether it’s for people in their own homes or for people who have given up on that entire property”.
“That’s something I think we’ll probably consider. It’s probably a more efficient way than paying for a hotel or B&B and for me personally it’s a lot nicer to think that one family has the support of another family in a home or that they also have a home of their own rather than to To stay home a hotel or a B&B.”
“These people are fleeing war and an absolutely horrible situation so it would be great to have the comfort of another home and also that support.
“We must examine all options and that is what we are doing. The immediate need was to make sure that when people come in they have somewhere to stay and so the vast majority of people are now in hotels and B&Bs.”
“To date we have over 13,300 people who have actually received accommodation, and then there are other people who have come to us privately, because of family ties or for other reasons, which of course is not sustainable in the long term,” she said .
Micheál Martin, during his state visit to Helsinki on Friday, said the government would try to offer financial support to heads of households in return for housing refugees from Ukraine.
Mr Martin told the Sunday Independent: “Nothing has been ruled out in that regard.”
The British government is offering British households £350 (€420) a month to take in refugees. Cabinet was told last week that up to 60 per cent of accommodation offers made to the Red Cross may be unsuitable.
Across the coalition, there are now growing concerns that space in government-funded or provided shelters will run out in a matter of days, as the number of daily arrivals of refugees fleeing the war surpassed 600 twice last week.
Last week, the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) asked the government to pay holiday home owners 300 to 400 euros a month to allow their property to be used by Ukrainian refugees.
Justice Secretary Helen McEntee said today the Red Cross is trying to manage more than 25,000 offers of accommodation for Ukraine’s war refugees, but it will take time to review each offer to determine “what constitutes suitable accommodation”.
Other challenges have emerged, including that “people might realize that this isn’t short-term, this might be long-term, and then obviously it can have an impact on people’s decision to do this … there’s obviously a cost if someone is in Your house remains and you will use your home whether it is a holiday home or something else”.
Ms McEntee said that while “Airbnbs, B&Bs and hotels have been our main focus,” the government is seeking “faster builds, modular builds” to provide emergency housing for Ukrainian refugees.
The minister said the government had started a process to “reach out to religious institutions” to use their properties to house refugees from Ukraine.
“We have many old buildings that would have housed our priests and nuns in the past. So how can we make the best of the existing shelters, but also how can we use land?
“Obviously when we say that we have to make sure we can continue our policy of housing for all, which is our policy to make sure we build more than 35,000 homes every year.”
Minister McEntee agreed that both the government and “my own department definitely have lessons to learn” on how quickly it has responded to the needs of Ukrainian refugees and how it has responded to asylum seekers from other conflict zones.
“People used to be in direct care for years waiting for answers – it’s much faster now and we want to make it even shorter,” she said.
More than 100 Ukrainian war refugees who had visited the center on Dominck Street by 2 p.m. were provided with PPS numbers as part of the emergency aid in order to support them financially, with accommodation and work.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/we-need-to-explore-all-options-justice-minister-in-favour-of-paying-people-to-house-ukrainian-refugees-41542923.html “We must examine all options” – Minister of Justice advocates paying people to accommodate Ukrainian refugees