More than 1,000 people with stay status are stuck in direct provision because they cannot find other accommodation

OVER 1,000 asylum seekers who have been granted permission to stay in Ireland are still living in Direct Provision centers because they cannot access other accommodation.

At the end of March, 730 adults and 309 children who had been granted residential leave were residing in PD centers across the country.

The figures were communicated by the Children’s Department to Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin.

Commenting on the numbers, Ó Broin said The newspaper that the departments of children, justice and housing “must do more to help these families to leave direct delivery”.

“Unfortunately, this is part of the housing crisis as a whole,” he said, noting that these people are not included in official government figures on homelessness.

“As these families are effectively homeless and remain stuck in direct provision, despite their permission to stay, they should be included in the official housing ministry’s homeless figures so that we can get a true picture of the real level. housing needs. ”

In response to Ó Broin’s parliamentary question, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said: “Considerable work is being undertaken to help these residents move out of shelters and move into lodgings. safe in the community.

He noted that a team from his department is working with Depaul Ireland, the Jesuit Refugee Service, the Peter McVerry Trust, officials from the Department of Housing and local authorities “to support residents with status or authorization to stay to access housing options ”. .

“So far this year, 276 people with status have moved into the community, 248 of whom have received assistance from the support services described. Last year, 1,136 people moved into community housing from our shelters, ”added O’Gorman.

The minister is due to meet with city and county officials shortly to discuss the availability of services for applicants for international protection.

Speaking at an online event on Wednesday, O’Gorman said it was not a “provisioning competition” between his ministry and the Housing Ministry.

“One of the reasons my ministry is at the forefront of housing is to ensure that the housing ministry can continue to play its central role of providing social housing, while my ministry will provide housing to protection seekers. international, ”he said.

A report released by the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children (OCO) last week criticized a number of shortcomings in protecting children living in direct delivery.

An investigation was opened after parents raised concerns about overcrowding, irregular heating of rooms and the nutritional content of available foods.

The OCO report stated that the PD model “does not have the best interests of children, nor the protection and promotion of the human rights of refugee children at its heart.”

White paper

In February, the government released a white paper outlining how it plans to end the direct delivery system over the next three years.

The current for-profit system has come under repeated criticism since its inception as an apparent temporary measure 21 years ago. The State has so far paid more than one billion euros to private companies which manage the accommodation centers.

The government intends to create a new international protection support service which will be in place by 2024 and which will be provided by the Department of Children, Equality, Integration and the youth.

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The first phase of the plan is to identify the locations of new state-run reception and integration centers, consisting of private housing, which will be spread across the country.

Comprehensive services must be in place as soon as a person applies for international protection with specific vulnerabilities identified throughout.

According to the government’s plan, the emphasis is on a people-centered approach to helping people integrate into local communities.

The roadmap to phase out the Irish network of private contracts, overcrowded housing and shared living spaces must be followed by ‘a mix of non-profit housing models’.

After four months in a state-owned center, applicants must be moved to their own accommodation through a mix of urban renewal and community housing programs, but the vast majority of people move into accommodation provided by agencies. approved housing.

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