Homeowners in Ireland have been asked to pledge spare rooms or vacant properties to house migrants for periods of up to a year as part of the government’s Irish Refugee Protection Programme.
In a new national campaign urging people to “put empty space to better use”, the Irish Red Cross said: “Pledging a vacant property or spare room will play a significant and valuable role in helping Syrian refugees rebuild their lives and settle in Irish communities.”
As well as calling on homeowners to pledge spare beds or rooms, the charity also wants holiday homes, second homes, and any other vacant properties in Ireland to be offered up for the cause of housing migrants.
Any asylum seeker or refugee housed through the scheme would be given a caseworker who provides them with education, healthcare, and employment support, explains the Irish Red Cross on its website.
The organisation, which was set up by Dublin nurse Elizabeth O’Herrin in 1939 to provide humanitarian aid, is administering the programme as part of Ireland’s effort to resettle 4,000 asylum seekers from camps in Greece and Italy.
While hundreds of free rooms and vacant homes were pledged in response to the organisation’s previous campaign in 2015, only 88 translated into actual accommodation for migrants, with many people withdrawing their offers once they were contacted by the Irish Red Cross.
Despite limited success with regards to the number of people housed, the scheme has been promoted as a win-win situation for both Irish natives and migrants by the organisation as well as in the mainstream media, almost entirely with one example of a Baldoyle woman.