Room to Improve: New Report shows that standards vary greatly in State-provided Accommodation

June 17, 2024
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Today, Tuesday 18th of June, Doras, the Limerick-based refugee and migrant rights organisation, launches a new report on the experiences of Ukrainians living in State-provided accommodation under the Temporary Protection Directive, ‘Room to Improve: A Look at the Experiences of Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection in State Accommodation’.

In a survey with almost 1,000 responses from Ukrainian Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTPs) a range of factors were identified as significant. These include type of accommodation, having private bedrooms, type of service provision (serviced or self-catering), staff attitudes and responsiveness, poor facilities for children, and lack of complaints mechanisms.

The research found that:

  • 1 in 3 rated the overall quality of their accommodation as very poor or poor 
  • 1 in 10 had concerns regarding gender-based violence in their accommodation centre
  • 1 in 6 had concerns regarding the safety of children in their accommodation centre
  • 1 in 4 reported not having appropriate accommodation and/or inadequate supports for people with additional needs 
  • 1 in 3 said there was no complaints mechanism
  • 60% of people in serviced accommodation rated the quality of meals provided as very poor or poor
  • Undercooked or rotten food was reported in 2 centres. Worms and maggots were reported in food in one centre
  • Cases of food poisoning were reported in 3 centres
  • Rats or mice were reported in 6 centres
  • 43 accommodation centres had no transport links 

The following quotes were extracted from the survey:

“I’m very sick, I’ve been living with 6 people in one room for a year.”

“Complete unsanitary conditions, the stench of urine in the rooms on the ground floor, mould, and wet beds on the ground floor.”

“In principle, we are not hungry, we sincerely thank Ireland, but the attitude itself is sometimes unpleasant to tears.”

“Staff says: if you are not happy, go back to Ukraine.”

“Children are constantly sick, I am not sure about the sanitary condition of the hotel and the food provided.”

“I live with 9 other men in single room.”

“The roof has been leaking for 6 months and has not been repaired. Because of this, water pours onto the electrical outlets in the room.”

John Lannon, Doras CEO said, ‘We have been working on the ground with people living in Direct Provision for the past 20 years, so we have seen how institutionalised living can negatively affect the mental and physical health of adults and children.’

‘Our new research on the experiences of Ukrainians living in State-provided accommodation paint a worrying, but not surprising, picture. While a significant portion of those surveyed were very happy with their living conditions, we can see from the findings that the quality of service provision varies greatly from centre to centre.’

People reported finding worms and maggots in food, being served undercooked food, and that the food served was inedible to their children and babies.

There were reports of people going without heating and hot water for months, while several reported mouldy and damp accommodation.

Lannon continued, ‘It’s important to also note that some providers are doing a very good job, and this is reflected in the survey. There’s also a lot of gratitude and appreciation from the Ukrainians towards Irish people, volunteers and communities that are supporting them. And that’s why we urgently need national standards to help ensure consistency in the quality of service provided.’

‘We are calling on the Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to urgently implement three main actions: mandatory compliance with the Children First Act 2015 to safeguard children; mandatory Garda vetting for all staff working in accommodation centres; and compulsory training to all staff in those centres on trauma-informed practice and intercultural awareness.’

 

ENDS

 

Download the full report

Methodology

Between January 29th and April 1st, 2024, Doras conducted an online survey of BOTPs living in State-provided Accommodation Centres across Ireland. The survey was anonymous and was shared directly with residents. Links were provided to both Ukrainian and English versions of the survey.

Support organisations and groups working with BOTPs were also invited to complete the survey. Their responses were extracted from the data gathered and analysed separately.

The survey design drew on the National Standards for accommodation offered to people in the protection process that apply to the living conditions and services provided to residents in International Protection Accommodation Services centres. It also took into consideration the relevant aspects of the contracts between DCEDIY and contractors providing accommodation to BOTPs.

National Standards, Department of Justice and Equality: https://assets.gov.ie/47450/759252006e2747468add977c9447fcbb.docx