Refugees face problems getting rented accommodation in Limerick

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by Alan Jacques

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Doras Luimní chief executive Karen McHugh
Doras Luimní chief executive Karen McHugh

DORAS Luimní has been alerted to a number of cases in Limerick where people have had to remain living in Direct Provision centres for up to six months while trying to secure suitable independent accommodation after being granted asylum.

According to the Limerick agency which supports migrants in the Mid-West, asylum seekers who have spent up to ten years living in institutions on a weekly allowance of €19.10, face a multitude of challenges trying to access private rented accommodation in Limerick.

The agency now has a dedicated volunteer-led service helping individuals and families with the transition from Direct Provision into Irish society by advising them on their housing options. Six individuals and one family have already been accommodated through the service so far this year.

Doras Luimní chief executive Karen McHugh says that the State has yet to meaningfully respond to the impact that the Direct Provision system has on asylum seekers.

“The Direct Provision system creates further barriers for migrants trying to integrate into Irish society, following lengthy periods of institutionalisation. Support services are desperately needed in order to assist with the transition process,” she said.

“The Direct Provision system has failed and we reiterate our call on the Minister to address the needs of those who have been trapped in it for so many years.”

Doras Luimní aims to fill the gap where State-funded support services are not provided. Its service includes information provision, advice and guidance on the housing options available to migrants in Limerick.

The organisation claims that while some of these issues are common to many vulnerable groups, such as the lack of social housing and increases in private rented accommodation, there are specific challenges faced by migrants that need to be addressed by the Government.

“Asylum seekers, many of whom have been forced to live in institutions in Limerick and across the country for up to ten years, find it impossible to provide housing references to prospective landlords. They are not allowed to work but many landlords prefer their tenants to be employed, which creates a further barrier to securing accommodation.

“With a weekly allowance of €19.10, and no entitlement to social welfare assistance until they have been granted status and have a permanent address, securing a deposit and advance rent is yet another challenge,” Ms McHugh explained.

Doras Luimní operates a drop-in centre on Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings at their office on O’Connell Street. For more information, visit www.dorasluimni.org.