Irish churches called to pledge accommodation for resettled refugees

Irish Red Cross logoAcross Ireland, churches are being asked to help identify accommodation to house refugees – single people and families – for stays between a few weeks and up to two years.

Under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, the Irish Council of Churches and Irish Episcopal Conference have been meeting with the Irish Red Cross who are collating voluntary pledges of houses, apartments and even rooms.

The Irish Government is committed to resettle 4,000 refugees before the end of 2017. By December, 176 Syrian refugees had arrived in Ireland from the camps in Jordan and Lebanon. More resettlement from these camps is expected, along with several thousand refugees from migration hotspots in Italy and Greece under an EU Relocation programme as well as further refugees from countries including Syria, Iraq, Eritrea and Central African Republic.

Accommodation must be in a town, with easy access to facilities and served by regular public transport. The database of pledges will be matched against the needs of refugees leaving the network of government-run Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres and moving into the community. Over the next two years, corresponding accommodation providers will enter into contracts that may include a rent allowance.

Churches will also have a role enabling the welcome and integration of refugees into selected communities alongside other voluntary and statutory organisations. Pledges of accommodation from individuals and churches as well as offers of goods and services can be registered online. Donations to offset the cost of renting a home can be made by contacting migrationcrisis@redcross.ie or 01-642 46 00.

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