Ireland has been named the first ever winner of an international award for promoting community sponsorship as means of providing housing to refugee families.
Ireland won the International Award 2019 – at the Community Sponsorship Awards Ceremony in London. This award is in association with the Irish Red Cross, Amnesty international Ireland, UNHCR, The Irish Refugee Council, NASC & Department of Justice Irish Refugee Protection Programme.
The State launched a pilot of the community sponsorship model in December 2018 as an alternative way to resettle refugees in Ireland. Under the programme, towns, villages and parishes across Ireland were encouraged to “sponsor” a vulnerable refugee family.
Co-operative Housing Ireland has worked in partnership with the Irish Red Cross as part of this programme and support it through the assessment of properties and the provision of advice on leasing and tenancy agreements.
Since the programme was formally launched last year by the Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD, the Irish Red Cross has been providing direct support to five community sponsorship programmes around Ireland.
Aisling Flynn, Refugee Housing Manager with Co-operative Housing Ireland said, “This programme represents a great opportunity for Irish communities to come together to support refugee families coming to settle in Ireland. As a relatively new programme, this award will provide a great boost to those local groups on the ground, and indeed to NGO’s like the Irish Red Cross tasked with supporting them.”