Housing system for asylum seekers

 

Sir, – As a member of the advisory group on direct provision, I read with interest “Proposed new housing system for asylum seekers ‘not workable’, says housing department” (News, November 22nd).

The claim made in the Department of Housing submission that the Day report proposals are not “workable” are founded on misunderstandings of the report.

The Department of Housing makes several errors in its submission – the first in stating that it would be required to provide housing to the 7,685 current residents of direct provision, the second in stating that it would be required to provide housing to 3,500 households thereafter; and finally the third in claiming that housing stock approved for social housing would be transferred for use to international protection applicants.

The Day report is clear that the backlog of legacy cases must be cleared before the remit is handed to the Department of Housing.

The number of applicants for international protection expected per year is 3,500. As 38 per cent of applicants form part of households, and single people could reasonably be expected to share houses, the number of households seeking accommodation would be significantly fewer than 3,500.

Finally, the Day report explicitly recommends that the Department of Housing would be provided with “dedicated, ring-fenced funding” to provide new temporary accommodation for international protection applicants.

This funding is for the acquisition of new housing stock and does not recommend, as the submission claims, transfer of current social housing stock for protection applicants.

Certainly, the plans for ending direct provision in the Day report are ambitious but we believe that they are the only way forward. – Yours, etc,

FIONA FINN,

Chief Executive,

Nasc, The Migrant

and Refugee

Rights Centre,

Cork.