State faces new pressure to accommodate Ukrainians as hotel contracts expire – The Irish Times

The state faces renewed pressure to find accommodation for those fleeing Ukraine and elsewhere to Ireland, with a third of hotel contracts set to expire before the end of the year.

Some 165 of 500 contracts with serviced accommodation providers – mostly hotels – that provide about 30,000 beds in total for Ukrainians will expire before the end of December, with growing pressure to find ways to move people out of hotels towards better options in the medium term. .

According to current trends, an additional 10,000 Ukrainians are expected to arrive here before the end of the year, bringing the total to just under 60,000. About 90% of those currently arriving are seeking temporary accommodation.

It is understood that some hosting entrepreneurs are looking for better conditions to register again. Official sources believe that current levels of people staying in hotels are unsustainable and higher than in other European countries. But they struggle to move people to other forms of accommodation.

Officials want to see people – especially those who have been here longer – move into modular or vacant homes, but believe that as long as significant numbers are in need of housing, hotels will be an important component.

The Ukrainian crisis has put a strain on the reception system for people fleeing here, but official sources say they face persistent and serious difficulties at all levels in finding enough beds for those arriving here after the crisis. invasion and applicants for international protection (IP).

Due to an increase in the number of intellectual property applicants and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the state is providing short-term housing to around 50,000 more people than last year, which is equivalent to housing one city ​​the size of Drogheda, and seven times the number of people as last year.

Officials are increasingly concerned about difficulties finding capacity for IP applicants, believing that accommodation providers prefer to host Ukrainians rather than other nationalities. Sources have attributed this to an eagerness to help those fleeing the Russian invasion, but also to local communities’ fear of harboring IP candidates. According to sources, the profile of applicants for IP is often different from that of Ukrainian families, with more single men present and difficulties associated with acceptance and integration into the community.

It is understood that the tented accommodation at Gormanston camp in County Meath will close the first week of October due to its unsuitability for winter conditions. Negotiations are ongoing with the military to find alternative indoor accommodation as an alternative. A second “transit center” similar to Citywest’s is expected to be operational before the end of the year.

The double problem linked to the housing of war refugees and those who would usually enter the direct offer obliges the Ministry of Integration to seek new alternatives. Officials are developing plans to use underutilized office buildings for longer-term accommodation options for IP applicants, and are in dialogue with the Office of Public Works and other public sector bodies to this end.

A total of 48,700 people have arrived in Ireland fleeing the conflict in Ukraine so far, including 38,000 in state accommodation. Of these, 32,800 are in supported accommodation, 900 in emergency accommodation and 4,500 in pledged accommodation, where progress remains slow in converting tens of thousands of pledged places into actively used places.

So far this year, around 10,150 people have arrived in Ireland seeking international protection, the designation given to asylum seekers. There are 15,500 people with this status currently in accommodation, more than double the number at the same time last year.

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