The Offer-a-Home Scheme has had over 1,000 offers of unoccupied properties since it was introduced two months ago in a drive to find accommodation for Ukrainian refugees according to a drooling RTE article. The Irish People has a few relevant questions in relation to homeless Irish people and those on long term housing lists.
Q. With the Irish homeless in Dublin alone at record high levels of 11 thousand, can they apply for housing under this scheme or are they excluded on racial or some other grounds?
Property owners who participate in the scheme receive a State payment of €800 per month tax-free.
Q. If they house homeless Irish people will they still get a tax free State payment of €800 per month and if not, why not?
The Department of Housing said there have been 1,158 offers of unoccupied properties over the past eight weeks.
Q. Great, then house the homeless Irish first unless they are barred for racial reasons?
Local authorities have made contact with 1,077 of the offers and, of those, 179 properties have been allocated providing a home for 618 Ukrainians.
Q. Again I ask are Irish homeless people being discriminated against and if so why?
Under the initiative, local authorities take offers of properties on the offerahome.ie website and liaise with owners to assess suitability. A spokesperson for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability and Integration said Ireland is now accommodating over 75,410 people between those fleeing Ukraine and International Protection applicants.
Q. But for decades they have failed or refused to house Irish homeless people. Is this not racial discrimination?
She said this includes 55,535 Ukrainian people who have sought accommodation from the State and almost 20,000 International Protection applicants currently in International Protection Accommodation Services accommodation.
Q. What about the Irish homeless?
This compares with 8,000 at the beginning of 2022.
The spokesperson said the Government agreed that a move from an emergency response to a more mainstreamed approach is appropriate, including a reduced reliance on serviced accommodation. This includes an increased focus on rapid build housing and a new call for vacant homes, led by local authorities. Building modular homes is also among the Government initiatives to provide accommodation for refugees. In a statement this evening the Office of Public Works said it is on track to deliver the first tranche of over 200 rapid build homes in early to mid-2023 to provide accommodation to approximately 800 Ukrainians.
Q. Will Irish people on long term housing lists be included or will they be bypassed and if so why?
It said a second tranche of sites for the installation of the balance of the 500 homes is currently being assessed for suitability and will be finalised and confirmed over the coming weeks. The Department of Housing identifies sites and then informs the OPW. The first phase of modular homes are to be installed across five sites in counties Cavan, Cork, Tipperary, Sligo and Mayo.
Fr Peter McVerry, of the Peter McVerry Trust housing and homelessness charity, said: “While I support much of what the Government is doing, they’re doing it too slow and too little.” He said more modular homes are needed saying they can be built in 12 weeks. “The Government has ordered 700, why not order 7,000? You could have them in place by the end of the year,” he said.
Q. Is Fr Peter McVerry S.J.’s Trust housing and homelessness charity still in the business of housing Irish people or have they like the government abandoned Irish people needing housing?
The Department of Housing said another strand is the Emergency Refurbishment programme which identifies large properties that can be used for accommodation like hotels.
It says 2,500 bed spaces have been identified which are in various stages of readiness.
Once identified the details are passed onto the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
Q. Is this a covert and increasingly overt replacement of Irish people by anybody from anywhere but Ireland? Is the replacement of Irish people by anybody else now government policy?