HSE contact tracing teams have been recruited to help vets who offered rooms to Ukrainian refugees

HSE contact tracing teams are being recruited to help vets who have offered rooms in their homes to Ukrainian refugees.

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Ukraine agreed to move HSE staff who had worked on the Covid pandemic to help deal with the humanitarian crisis triggered by the Russian invasion.

Contract-finding teams have already been asked to solve the passport office backlog, which has seen thousands of holidaymakers face months of delays in getting their travel documents.

“We will be accelerating the placement of Ukrainians in pledged accommodation with HSE contact tracing teams being recruited to help verify shared accommodation,” a government source said.

Ahead of the meeting, ministers were told that the pace of progress in securing accommodation through the Irish Red Cross pledge program was not satisfactory. It is hoped that around 6,000 people will be accommodated in private homes in the coming months

The Cabinet Committee was told by Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman that Ukraine’s housing crisis remains “extremely difficult” and there are still concerns that the state is struggling to house all those who arrive.

The Taoiseach and ministers have also agreed to purchase and develop 500 modular homes which will accommodate around 2,000 refugees.

Meanwhile, the Housing Ministry is advancing plans to renovate local authority buildings to provide housing for around 3,100 Ukrainians.

“We anticipate that even with the measures put forward across the country, the numbers ahead will still leave us with a significant gap to close,” a government source said.

“All relevant government departments will continue their work, but the coming months will be exceptionally difficult,” the source added.

Modeling carried out for the government by consultancy Ernst and Young suggests around 3,400 Ukrainians could be left homeless by July 28, when contracts with hotels expire. The figures are based on 250 people arriving here from Ukraine each day.

Modeling also suggests that even if 150 people arrive per day, there could be between 5,700 and 6,900 Ukrainians with nowhere to live by the end of August.

The state currently has more than 300 contracts with hotels, bed and breakfasts, religious institutions, educational institutions, arenas, scout dens, hostels, and St. Vincent de Paul Centers to provide housing.