This week, a survey shows that 92% of people hosting Ukrainians have had a positive experience and 76% would recommend hosting to someone else. The research was presented by Helping Irish Hosts and the Irish Red Cross to Oireachtas members at a briefing in Leinster House on Wednesday, 31 January.
In Wexford, there are currently 1217 guests living in 470 host homes. This represents 31% of the total number of Ukrainians who have arrived in the county since the invasion of Ukraine. Nationally, 25% of all arrivals from Ukraine are currently living in host homes or pledged accommodation.
Local Gorey host, Catherine Quinlan, says:
“My family has hosted a number of times now. It’s something so special to be able to provide this kind of safety net to people arriving into this country without knowing anything about it. They’ve all done their best to settle and find their feet and our first guests have moved on to live independently or join family members elsewhere. There are challenges along the way but you learn so much doing this. The key is open communication and being direct – something Irish people aren’t always the best at! But you figure it out as you go. Overall, it’s an enriching experience and I’m glad we are able to do it.”
Research shows there were €386 million annual savings to the taxpayer versus the cost of state provided accommodation. 25% of Ukrainian arrivals to Ireland are currently in host accommodation or pledged properties.
Angie Gough, CEO and Co-Founder of Helping Irish Hosts, says:“The research reaffirms everything we’ve seen over the past 22 months. Hosting is having an incredible impact – for the hosts, their guests and also their communities. While it’s not the right option for everyone and it’s not a long-term solution, it does offer a key integration opportunity for people seeking refuge in this country. Our priority is to nurture the host response as a significant part of the refugee accommodation solution, while acknowledging its limitations and advocating for the changes needed to sustain it.”
The Consortium of organisations responsible for activating pledged accommodation is still receiving around 300 accommodation pledges a month. The briefing to Oireachtas members also heard that the savings to the taxpayer are in the region of €386 million annually, when compared to state accommodation.
At the briefing this week, the group presented recommendations to Government and offered resources to support constituents and communities that are hosting. Key asks included extending the proposed 90-day policy for new arrivals to reduce the risk of harm to already vulnerable groups, and widening the Accommodation Recognition Payment (ARP) to include Programme Refugees who have been granted status in Ireland.
Angie Gough says:
“We know that 76% of people were motivated to host out of solidarity, or compassion. This is hugely inspiring but we also know that the monthly ARP is a fundamental and brilliant tool in facilitating and sustaining hosting. From our conversations with hosts, it’s clear that there is a strong will in this community to extend the welcome currently being shown to Ukrainians, to all refugees. Alongside our Consortium partners, we are ready to draw on the current frameworks in place to pilot this approach.”
The Host Survey report and full Oireachtas briefing presentation can be accessed here: https://www.helpingirishhosts.com/post/lessons-learned-from-hosting
The Consortium is a partnership that is funded by DCEDIY and led by the Irish Red Cross, comprising Helping Irish Hosts, Peter McVerry Trust and IOM, to activate pledged accommodation on behalf of the Irish State and to retain and extend host arrangements.