Major information night for residents hosting displaced Ukrainians

by Rachel Cunningham
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Rachel Cunningham

Over 60 Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown community members attended an information evening on hosting displaced Ukrainians in their homes last week.

The event, which took place in dlr County Hall, was run by Helping Irish Hosts, an organisation which aims to empower and support individuals and communities in Ireland to host Ukrainians.

TV and radio presenter Mary Kennedy hosted the evening, contextualising why hosting is still and interviewing two local hosts and a Ukrainian woman living in hosted accommodation, in addition to a panel of experts. 

Seventeen per cent, or 16,200, of Ukrainians in Ireland are living in pledged accommodation, with over 7,350 registered hosts, many of whom are living with hosts in South Dublin.

Mary Ruane, Chief Officer of DLR LCDC & Senior Executive Officer, Community and Cultural Development Department, urged more people to pledge their support.

Speaking at the event about her experience as a host, Róisín de Buitléar said: “Irish and Ukrainian people understand each other in a way that’s really visceral because of our shared history of forced migration.”

Róisín, a renowned artist and South Dublin resident, is hosting 20-year-old Diana, who travelled on her own from Ukraine earlier this year and was staying in a hostel until she was matched with Róisín. 

This is Róisín’s second hosting experience, having previously shared her home with a Ukrainian family that are now working and living independently in Dublin.

The event’s panel consisted of experts from the Irish Red Cross, Ukrainian Action, Southside Partnership and the Irish Refugee Council.

They addressed topics ranging from dealing with cultural differences when sharing a home, to how integration can look very different from one displaced person to another. 

When hosts are coming close to the end of their six-month or one-year hosting arrangement, they want to know what is the next step for their Ukrainian guests.

The event highlighted the reality that those living in pledged accommodation in Dublin have a slim chance of finding a new host home in the same area, while the chances of securing rental accommodation are challenging due the current housing crisis.

Helping Irish Hosts is appealing to local people in South Dublin to come forward to offer a room in their home or a self-contained property.

“We need more hosts to take up the baton. Kids have settled in schools, families have integrated into their host community,” said Helping Irish Hosts Co-Founder and CEO Angie Gough.

“These people have already been through so much. The prospect of having to pick up and move again is incredibly overwhelming. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about, please get in touch and we will support you throughout the process of hosting.”

This information event was part of a nationwide Roadshow series, which celebrates the hosting experience while providing relevant and accurate information to anyone already hosting or considering pledging their property.

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