Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (575)

Catherine Murphy


575. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons seeking international protection here that were placed in emergency accommodation rather than dedicated direct provision centres in 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of persons that have had their application approved with a permission to remain that have not exited on a full-time basis from direct provision centres following receipt of their due date to vacate premises in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the level of engagement he has had with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government in respect of meeting housing needs for persons exiting direct provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35072/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As of 11th August 2019, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department was accommodating 6,045 people in its 38 accommodation centres. A further 1,087 people were accommodated by RIA in emergency accommodation in hotels and guesthouses.  This figure has increased from 289 people in emergency accommodation on 31st December 2018.  The use of emergency accommodation is not the ideal scenario. However, while we wait for new accommodation centres to come on stream, we must ensure that each person arriving today to claim international protection, with no advance warning, will tonight have shelter, food and any urgent medical care they require.

Coupled with an increase in the number of people applying for protection in recent years there are over 900 people with an international protection status (refugee status or subsidiary protection status) or a humanitarian permission to remain who continue to live in RIA accommodation.

People with an international protection status or a permission to remain have the same access to mainstream housing supports and services as nationals. We are working intensively with organisations like the Peter McVerry Trust, Depaul and the Jesuit Refugee Service to assist these people to transition to mainstream housing services but that is challenging in the current housing environment. 

RIA staff meet regularly with colleagues from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and with staff from the City and County Manager's Association (CCMA) to work collectively to ensure those with status or permission to remain are assisted to move on to longer term accommodation as soon as possible.