UN refugee agency criticises Irish support for asylum seekers left without housing – The Irish Times

The amount of money given to asylum seekers who are not provided with accommodation “is likely to be insufficient to prevent some people being left in a situation of homelessness or destitution”, the UN refugee agency has said.

The State has since Sunday been unable to provide accommodation to single men who have come to Ireland to seek asylum. A total of 83 people were unable to be accommodated, at least initially, in the first three days of the week, according to the Department of Integration.

Seven were offered accommodation retrospectively, meaning that 76 people remained without a place to stay as of Wednesday night. The department said updated figures would not be available until Tuesday of next week.

Speaking about the shortage of accommodation, Enda O’Neill, head of office, UNHCR Ireland, said the situation was “very concerning”.

“UNHCR welcomes the efforts undertaken by the Department of Integration and the HSE to prioritise families and children, as well as those with vulnerabilities and particular needs for accommodation.”

Mr O’Neill welcomed the Government’s decision to increase the weekly payment to €113.80 for those who cannot be accommodated. “However, we remain concerned that an additional €75 is likely to be insufficient to prevent some people being left in a situation of homelessness or destitution,” Mr O’Neill said.

“Where accommodation is not provided in-kind, EU law requires the amount of payments to applicants to be set by reference to those paid to nationals under Irish law or practice. They must also be sufficient to enable them to obtain accommodation on the private rental market where necessary.”

Mr O’Neill said it had been “clear for some time” that the reliance on privately contracted accommodation “was not sustainable and that significant capital investment was required”.

“While we acknowledge that the challenges facing the Government in light of the numbers arriving into Ireland both from Ukraine and other countries are significant, the fact that over 400 people are currently sleeping in tents and 76 people this week have not been provided with any form of accommodation, highlights the importance of sustainable planning and innovative solutions to our accommodation challenges,” he added.

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