Accommodation policies for Ukrainians will create ‘further strain’ in rental market

Irish Red Cross warns Minister that Ukrainians could be forced into unregulated, unsuitable tenancies

Controversial new accommodation policies for Ukrainians will create “further strain” in the rental market, and risk placing people fleeing the war in “direct competition with the general public”, the Irish Red Cross (IRC) has warned.

In a letter to Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman, the IRC also warns that once in the rental market any perception of preferential treatment for Ukrainians “will likely cause tensions between communities, and fuel anti-immigration sentiment in the general public”.

New legislation introduced this week will mean that anyone fleeing the war in Ukraine, who registers for temporary protection, will be accommodated for a maximum of 90 days in a designated accommodation centre. The new arrivals will be entitled to a reduced weekly allowance of €38.80 per adult and €29.80 per child for daily expenses while resident there. The changes will not affect people from Ukraine who arrived before this policy came into force.

IRC secretary general Deirdre Garvey also argues the policy will increase homelessness and deny opportunities for family reunification, “causing stress and increasing their dependence on State support”.


An analysis by the IRC, also sent to Mr O’Gorman, raises concerns that Ukrainians could be forced into unregulated, unsuitable tenancies partially supported by State payments through the €800 a month accommodation-recognition payment and supplemented from their social welfare or other income.

While most pledged accommodations are run by the IRC or another NGO, the body says that private equivalents could proliferate but without Garda vetting or property checks that take place through official pledge programme providers. “This carries increased risks of exploitation of vulnerable people, who may have no other options but to enter into such arrangements,” an analysis of the new policy by the IRC sent to Mr O’Gorman states.

The additional demand for pledged accommodation could also put strain on that system, while the prospect of becoming homeless if a relationship with a host breaks down is also a risk for Ukrainians who will not have a path back to State-provided accommodation.

“This policy risks undermining the [State]-funded IRC’s pledged-accommodation programme,” according to the document, which urges a flexible approach to the 90-day policy rule. It warns of risks to those fleeing the war, in particularly vulnerable groups, including older or disabled people, those with mental health issues, minorities and those who came as minors but have turned 18.

The IRC is asking for “broad exceptions” to avoid making vulnerable groups “even more vulnerable and subject to homelessness after 90 days”.

“IRC case workers are bracing themselves to deal with vulnerable people presenting to IRC offices with nowhere to go,” the organisation states, asking that officials “consider the high risk of homeless ... arising out of this policy and the strain it will place on organisations to provide emergency accommodation to a cohort ineligible for homeless supports”.

It says it is “greatly concerned” about the impact it will have on the mental health of those arriving, pointing out that young adults presenting from Ukraine have “the highest rates of suicidal ideation”.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times