Church and Society Commission
An urgent appeal for accommodation
Offers sought of properties to accommodate Ukrainian refugees
Members of the Church of Ireland are being encouraged to give urgent consideration as to how they can provide accommodation for people fleeing war in Ukraine. This appeal for help is being made further to consultation with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), which manages short–term accommodation needs, in light of the current shortage of accommodation and the need to sustain the momentum for the long run on behalf of people who have lost everything at home.
Anyone who owns or knows of buildings in good or habitable repair for immediate use which could accommodate groups of Ukrainian refugees is asked to contact DCEDIY directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Buildings should preferably have communal cooking facilities that can be used by residents so they are not dependent on provided food. People coming from Ukraine are currently being housed in a wide range of properties, including hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs, hostels, self–catering accommodation, former nursing homes, and repurposed buildings. Student accommodation is currently housing around 4,500 people but will need to be returned to its main purpose from August onwards.
Each local authority has a Community Response Forum which is co–ordinating efforts at the local level. All parishes are also encouraged to contact their Community Response Forum to see how they can support people through the next steps in their journey and to help them integrate with the communities in which they find themselves. Each forum will know best about the needs that exist locally which may, for example, include good quality clothing, bicycles, or offers of transport to help people resettling in more remote accommodation to connect with local support hubs or to attend appointments.
The Department has commended and welcomed the initiatives of Church of Ireland parishes and other organisations around the State for all their generosity to date in response to the crisis.
The chairperson of the Church of Ireland’s Church and Society Commission (CASC), Archbishop Michael Jackson, said the warmth of our welcome is very important, especially for children who make up one in three of the people arriving in Ireland from Ukraine. Many children arriving from Ukraine are unaccompanied.
“The Department has asked for our assistance in this urgent matter which comes at a time when our entire country is struggling to find solutions to a housing and accommodation crisis,” Archbishop Jackson stated.
He added: “I encourage people to embrace this need as an opportunity to develop an ever–expanding understanding of neighbourliness. General Synod passed a motion in May urging Standing Committee to work with parishes and dioceses to identify ways to help those affected by the housing crisis. The reality now is that people from Ukraine have been sleeping on airport floors and are being accommodated in tents in today’s Ireland. I encourage anyone who knows of any suitable buildings to contact DCEDIY. While this appeal is specific to people coming from Ukraine, I encourage you not to forget others coming to Ireland as refugees and those who are homeless in our own society at this time.”
How many people have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine?
As at 19 July, from the outbreak of the war in Ukraine on 24 February this year:
- Over 40,000 people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine arrived in Ireland; and
- Over 30,000 sought accommodation from the State.
Around 400 contracts are in operation to provide accommodation to Ukrainian people who are receiving protection as refugees from the conflict. The capacity of this accommodation, as of the end of June, was around 22,500 beds. This figure includes around 4,500 beds in student accommodation.
Who is co–ordinating Ireland’s response?
The Government’s Ukrainian Crisis Temporary Accommodation Team (at DCEDIY) is focused on providing temporary accommodation to refugees from Ukraine, and is collaborating with all relevant government departments and agencies, local authorities, charities and the private sector to ensure that people are provided with accommodation on arrival, and to help to find and receive the support that they require.
This cross–government response is being supported by a Community Response Forum in each county or city; these fora were first developed to help local communities respond to the needs of particularly vulnerable people during the Covid–19 pandemic. In the current context, these enable organisations to work together at a local level to provide the appropriate assistance and support, and to guide our new neighbours to other services in their communities.