A representative from an Irish Catholic charity has warned that discrimination against immigrants in the private housing market has forced more people to pursue public housing.
The housing market in Ireland is “unbelievably difficult” for immigrants, said Danielle McLaughlin, a policy officer for Crosscare, a Catholic charity which aids the homeless.
McLaughlin said many immigrants face discrimination in the rental market and workplace, according to RTÉ News. She also said they receive lower wages because of a lack of language proficiency and qualifications.
Many immigrants have encountered a poor quality of accommodation or exploitation efforts by a landlord, she said.
“We have huge numbers coming to us with notices to quit. They are more susceptible to exploitation or not knowing their rights,” said McLaughlin, according to RTÉ News.
She cited two reports - one from the Economic and Social Research Institute and another from the Dublin City Council. The first report found that African immigrants suffered discrimination in the workplace. The other report determined that migrants had a greater chance of becoming homeless than those who were not migrants.
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive reported that last March, 2,704 migrants applied for social housing in Ireland.
It also found that, while the total number of applicants on a waiting list for social housing dropped 12% since 2016, the number of immigrant applications have increased by 45%.
For the 2016 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, then-Bishop John Buckley of Cork and Ross expressed gratitude for the contribution immigrants have offered to Ireland. He encouraged parishioners to welcome migrants and refugees, who may have already faced numerous hardships, including hunger and displacement.
“Some will be coming to this country and they are hoping that Ireland will be a place where they are safe and can begin the process of rebuilding their lives,” he wrote.
“It is important that the local church be at the forefront of efforts to welcome them.”