Nearly 60,000 people fleeing the war in Ukraine have been given housing in Ireland, the Government has said.
In a statement this afternoon, the Government said nearly 20,000 asylum seekers from other countries are also in State housing.
It means there are now nearly 80,000 refugees and asylum seekers in State accommodation – up from around 7,500 this time last year.
The accommodation includes “hotels and B&Bs; emergency rest centres operated by Local Authorities, local hosting arrangements and accommodation sourced through the ‘Offer a home’ scheme”.
The Government said it is now stepping up action to speed up the refurbishment of suitable buildings and deliver more rapid build houses.
It said it has agreed an “expanded programme of work” that will allow consideration of commercial properties and sites for development, refurbishment or purchase.
It will also consider the use of alternative modular buildings.
Meanwhile, a new Accommodation Working Group has been established to support the Department of Integration, the Department of Housing and the OPW to deliver more accommodation if a faster manner.
A National Coordination Unit is also being established in the Local Government Management Agency to ensure the new programme of work is delivered at a local level.
“Ireland is resolute in our solidarity and support for Ukraine and we are honouring our commitment to helping people who have been displaced by this horrendous war,” reads the statement.
It noted that work is also “ongoing across Government” to improve communications and engagement with communities on the humanitarian response.