Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022 sparked a humanitarian crisis that will last for years to come. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians have died, and millions of people have been displaced across Europe and within Ukraine amid the bombardment of cities. More than 30,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland since early March with that number continuing to grow on a daily basis.
Irish charities’ response
Irish charities and community groups are providing support services to these Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland. The range of services provided includes accommodation, clothing and food donations, information, access to education and translation services and support for children. The Irish Government has announced an additional €10.5 million in funding to assist the community response to support people arriving from Ukraine.
The pledge register
A number of Irish charities who hold real estate are generously offering rooms in houses or entire buildings to accommodate Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland. The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and the Irish Red Cross (IRC) launched a pledge register which will allow charities, private landlords, people with second homes, businesses, letting agents and community groups to register accommodation and other services to assist Ukrainian refugees. The pledge register is monitored by the IRC and funded by the government.
In order to pledge your property, you need to register with IRC. The accommodation must be available to Ukrainian refugees for a minimum of 6-12 months and be located close to public transport and within a short commute to villages and towns. The property must be in reasonable condition, free from damp and in good structural repair. The property must have hot and cold water and all rooms must have adequate ventilation and heating. All appliances should be in good and safe working order.
Related governance considerations
From a governance perspective, if your organisation is a registered charity, the charity trustees must determine whether providing assistance in this way is in furtherance of the charity’s main objects and in the best interests of the charity. Certain charities will have broad objects of “benefitting the community” or “relieving poverty” and may therefore be in a position to provide accommodation to those in need. However, it is important that your charity trustees carefully review and consider the main objects of the charity, prior to making a decision to provide a certain type of assistance.
Good governance is vital and the charity trustees who are responsible for the operation and administration of the charity should also consider any proposed assistance (and how such assistance is to be documented and implemented) against the principles and standards set out in the Charities Governance Code.
Our Charities & Not-for-Profit team is at hand to provide any advice in relation to the provision of accommodation and other assistance by charities during this humanitarian crisis.