3,400 Ukrainian refugees will have nowhere to live when hotel contracts end
About 3,400 Ukrainian refugees will have nowhere to live in just over six weeks when government contracts with hotels end, ministers have warned.
he true scale of the humanitarian crisis was revealed to ministers who were told the state was running out of housing for people fleeing war-torn Ukraine.
Details of the warnings come as a Cabinet committee on Ukraine meets today to discuss the deteriorating housing situation for refugees, which is expected to come to a head in the coming months.
Senior ministers will be informed that more than 21,000 refugees have received accommodation so far, but that there are up to 1,000 Ukrainians in emergency accommodation.
The search for accommodation is expected to worsen with the start of tourist seasons and the return of students to class later this year.
Modeling carried out for the government by consultancy Ernst & Young suggests around 3,400 Ukrainians could be homeless by July 28, when contracts with hotels expire. The figures are based on 250 people arriving here from Ukraine each day.
Modeling also suggests that even if 150 people arrive per day, there could be between 5,700 and 6,900 Ukrainians with nowhere to live by the end of August.
The state currently has more than 300 contracts with hotels, bed and breakfasts, religious institutions, educational institutions, arenas, scout dens, hostels, and St. Vincent de Paul Centers to provide housing.
It is also feared that around 4,500 student accommodation beds used to house refugees will be freed up by mid-August.
Ministers were also told efforts by the Irish Red Cross to match refugees with people who offered private accommodation were “unsatisfactory”. The Children’s Department was forced to step in to ‘report on the limited progress to date’.
The government is aiming to have around 6,000 private accommodation pledges by the end of the summer, but this will involve the Irish Red Cross, various departments, state agencies and local authorities.
About 25,000 people pledged shared or vacant properties when Russia invaded Ukraine. However, 10,000 of those people were either unreachable or had duplicate promises, while 5,600 withdrew their offer. There were 2,800 offers of vacant properties and 900 were inspected.
More than 6,600 roommate offers were made and 3,000 were contacted and invited to participate in a verification process.
However, only a third of people agreed to go through the process and gardaí checked around 1,000 people,
The Cabinet committee on Ukraine will also be told that local authorities are spending too much time and resources on the refugee crisis, which means they cannot focus on other issues such as their commitments set out in housing for all strategy.
Local authorities have been providing emergency accommodation for refugees in recent months and aim to renovate buildings to house 3,000 Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of their country.
The Housing Department is developing a pilot project to provide 500 modular houses that will be used to house refugees.
However, ministers were warned that the project would cost more than €100million and that a long-term strategy for the houses was needed to ensure they could continue to be occupied once war broke out. in Ukraine ended.
The Office of Public Works reviews the best sites for modular housing based on their location in relation to services such as schools, healthcare and public transport.
The Cabinet committee will also discuss how, on average, 100 Ukrainians are moved daily between different accommodation sites due to the current reliance on short-term housing.
They will be told that this has a potential impact on efforts to integrate refugees into their communities, particularly in terms of finding jobs or schools for children.