Croí na Gaillimhe introduced two new initiatives recently for people who are leaving Direct Provision. One was with the local Credit Unions and the other assisting people with status to move into the community.
A new initiative introduced by Croí na Gaillimhe and delivered by the Galway Credit Union:
Families and individuals who have ‘leave to remain’ status in Ireland face a number of obstacles when trying to move into the community. Finding suitable accommodation is a real difficulty and the well documented situation of demand exceeding supply means that people often remain in direct provision for long periods of time. The cost of moving is another issue as the majority of people have no savings and can’t access credit through the normal lending channels. This seriously disadvantages people as they can’t make up any shortfalls in deposits or buy essentials when they find a home.
This situation prompted Croí na Gaillimhe to contact St Columba’s and St Anthony’s and Claddagh Credit Union to discuss the possibility of offering loans to people in direct provision with a deferred payment option until they move into their home. The Credit Unions were very open to the idea and promptly put a mechanism in place for people to apply for the loan. They have held information sessions in both direct provision centres and already have new customers.
The SVP Social Justice Committee is also very supportive of the initiative as it is a natural fit with their aims and objectives.
Croí na Gaillimhe is delighted that the Credit Union responded so quickly and that the initiative will in some way help make the transition to the community that bit easier. Perhaps this could be an option for other Credit Unions in different parts of Ireland to implement.
In November 2016 we extended our services to people living in direct provision who have got their status (leave to remain/refugee status/subsidiary protection) and are planning to move to their new home.
The Bridge service operates two mornings a week and we offer:
This is the only dedicated service of its type in Galway and there is no doubt that we will be busy in the coming months. While we can help and support people, the issue of housing supply remains the biggest challenge of all. We look forward to updating you on the progress in the coming months.
As part of the Bridge Project we launched a Galway Guide to Leaving Direct Provision accommodation.
Today in Galway there are twenty six households living in direct provision accommodation whose application for asylum or subsidiary protection has been granted. This means that they are entitled to move out of direct provision and start their new life in the community. This is obviously great news after years of being unable to participate fully in society and having only €19.10 a week to spend but the current shortage of housing at affordable rents poses a huge obstacle to people trying to leave direct provision.
Isn’t this a problem for everyone looking for accommodation? Yes it is, says Janet Kehelly, Project Officer, of Croí and Gaillimhe Resource Centre, but people leaving direct provision face additional obstacles as well, such as having no savings or income to top up rents until such time as they get work, or transport to go and view properties, or having no tenant references to show a landlord. All of these things can push people further down on a landlords list of possible tenants. Janet added that the lack of supply and the continuous hikes in rent, result in people staying in direct provision when they should be living in the community.
While Croí an Gaillimhe can’t offer people accommodation, the Bridge Project does provide an information and support point for people looking for guidance on how to move into the community. The Bridge Project offers people help with housing and social protection applications and along with the support of other agencies, guidance on looking for private rented accommodation.
Their new information booklet, Galway Guide to Leaving Direct Provision, launched by Hildegarde Naughton TD and sets out the steps to becoming part of our communities. Once they find their accommodation, we need to do our bit to help them feel part of it. You can download the booklet here.
For further information please contact Loretta Needham, Manager of Croí na Gaillimhe @ 091 895203.