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More must be done to help 500 people with status trapped in Direct Provision – Ó Broin

4 November, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has called government Ministers Coveney and Varadkar to put in place additional support services to assist the 500 former asylum seekers who have been granted residency status still trapped in Direct Provision services.

Deputy Ó Broin made the comments after receiving figures from the Department of Justice on the matter.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said:

“The housing crisis we are currently experiencing is having an adverse impact on many groups including those trying to move out of direct provision once they have obtained their status. 

“These people are having real difficulties in accessing private rented accommodation and additional support services must be provided by the Minister for Housing to help them access accommodation services and sort out Housing Assistance Payment. People who spend time direct provision face additional barriers to accessing rented accommodation and Minister Coveney must do more to ensure that those who have successfully gotten their status aren’t placed at greater risk of homelessness due to a lack of adequate cultural support, advice and interpretation services.

“The Minister for Social Protection must also ensure that people who have obtained their status receive their full job seekers allowance payment, rather than the €19.50 paid to them in direct provision, so that they can save for a deposit. 

“The relevant government departments must work together to ensure that no one in the State is made homeless because of an inability to access permanent accommodation.” ENDS

Note: Please see the PQ response below


QUESTION NO: 42

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald)
by Deputy Eoin Ó Broin
for WRITTEN on Thursday, 3rd November, 2016.



* To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of adults and children who remain in direct provision after receiving their stamp four leave to remain; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the Reception and Integration Agency is now threatening these persons with eviction with the potential of them becoming homeless; if her attention has further been drawn to the very real difficulties these persons are having in accessing private rented accommodation; the supports she plans to put in place to assist these persons in making the transition from direct provision; and if she has discussed this matter with the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in order to coordinate the efforts of both departments to prevent these persons from becoming homeless..

- Eoin Ó Broin 

REPLY.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (David Stanton)

The Reception & Integration Agency (RIA) has never threatened to evict any persons from its accommodation centres who have been granted leave to remain or any other form of status.

In terms of the number of persons in RIA accommodation who have been granted some form of status, there are in the region of 500 such persons among the 4,200 residents across the system. This number fluctuates based on the numbers of status grants and the movement of such persons into private accommodation over time. RIA, its centre managers, the Community Welfare Service (including Rent Supplement), Citizens Information and those City and County Councils operating the Housing Assistance Payments link with such persons in accessing the appropriate supports and services, including in respect of sourcing and securing private accommodation.

Following on from the McMahon Working Group Report, the Department of Justice & Equality developed a Guide to Independent Living for persons with status to provide practical assistance for them. The Guide is available in all centres and has been published on the RIA website (www.ria.gov.ie) in a number of different languages. This was published in parallel with information sessions coordinated by the Citizens Information Bureau in accommodation centres which gave an opportunity for such persons to seek assistance and clarification on the services provided.

Once some form of status is granted, residents cease to be ordinarily entitled to the accommodation supports provided through the Reception & Integration Agency. Notwithstanding this fact, RIA have always continued to provide such persons with continued accommodation until they secure their own private accommodation. RIA are particularly mindful of the reality of the housing situation in the State and the pressures on the Community Welfare Service in respect of Rent Supplement or the City and County Councils in respect of Housing Assistance Payments and Housing Lists. That said, the State has been criticised for the length of time persons spend in Direct Provision and accordingly, we must all work together to transition persons granted status out of the system as quickly as possible.

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