From direct provision to homelessness

In a functioning housing market, people should be able to move on from direct provision to live in the community

A chara, – Something which we feel should be clarified from your articles “Minister has ‘concerns’ about people leaving direct provision system entering homeless services” (News, February14th) and “Departments clash over refugees pushed from direct provision into homelessness” (News, February 11th) is that the clash between departments does not relate to “asylum seekers”.

It concerns people who have already been through the asylum process and who were granted legal status to remain in Ireland, mostly recognised refugees.

As such, they have the same legal rights to access social housing supports and homeless services as any Irish citizen.

In a functioning housing market, these people should be able to move on from direct provision to live in the community. The fact that 6,000 people are currently unable to do so is an indictment of the failures of our housing system.


If a person is unable to provide for their own accommodation, they are entitled to apply to their local authority for homeless supports such as emergency accommodation. We are concerned by the statement from the secretary general of the Department of Housing that “there was a ‘serious risk’ that significant numbers of asylum seekers would be left sleeping rough”. This suggests either that homeless services generally are at the brink of failure, or else that local authorities would discriminate against people leaving direct provision by treating them differently from other homeless persons regardless of their legal entitlements.

We do not support the eviction of thousands of people into homelessness by the Department of Integration. However, the solution to this problem is not for thousands of people to continue languishing in direct provision.

The solution will not come from Government departments seeking to pass responsibility between each other.

The solution is more housing, of the right types, in the right places.

If that is not the role of the Department of Housing, what is? – Yours, etc,



Mercy Law Resource Centre,

Dublin 8.