PQ: Direct Provision Data

Wed, February 1, 2017

158. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of adults and children who remain in direct provision after receiving their stamp 4 leave to remain; the number of these persons living in direct provision on 26 January 2017; if her attention has been drawn to the 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 co-ordinate the efforts of both Departments to prevent these persons from becoming homeless.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): On 26 January, 2017, 475 persons availing of State provided accommodation had some form of status. A breakdown of the form of status as required by the Deputy is not readily available. This number fluctuates based on the numbers of status grants and the movement of such persons into private accommodation over time.

The Reception & Integration Agency (RIA), its centre managers, the Community Welfare Service (by way of provision of Rent Allowance), 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 and 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 RIA. 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. The Government is committed to ensuring that persons who are availing of State provided accommodation, including those who have come to Ireland under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, are supported in sourcing and securing private accommodation. In that regard, my officials work closely with those of the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, as is evidenced by the incorporation into the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness of the provision of housing for refugees and the establishment under that Plan of an operational group co-chaired by the two Departments which is focused on this process.