Wednesday, 1 April 2015 - 11:21
Thousands of refugees need homes; 1,100 waiting in Amsterdam
More than half of the 25 thousand refugees living in asylum centers across the Netherlands are waiting for the municipality to find them a home, Volkskrant reports. Municipalities claim that they do not have enough vacant rental housing to meet the demand. According to figures from the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, there are currently 13 thousand refugees with residence permits that are waiting for a home. Amsterdam has the largest backlog with more than 1,100 refugees waiting for a home in the city. The government has required all municipalities to offer a percentage of these refugees homes, based on the size of the municipality's population. Many municipalities complain that they have too little social housing available to meet the government's demand. They also feel that the government should give them extra money for this, something that the government has been unwilling to do so far. According to Marie-Louise van Kleef of the Home Again Platform, provinces should reprimand municipalities to avoid the backlog getting even bigger. It is the provinces' responsibility to ensure that the municipalities find homes for the assigned refugees. The Home Again Platform was established in October by the state, the provinces and housing corporations. The platform is intended to find solutions for the accommodation of 29 thousand refugees this year. According to the province of Utrecht, they are performing their supervisory roll in a "sober, restrained an proportionate" manner. "We will only consider intervening if all the steps are taken carefully: first official consultation then make appointments for improvement." a spokesperson said to the Volkskrant. "If there are no improvements, an administrative consultation will follow." The province of Noord-Holland has a similar approach. "We only intervene when a municipality culpably fails according to us, and that is certainly not a case", a spokesperson said to the newspaper. "We talk a lot with the municipalities that are lagging behind. If a municipality can give a good explanation - for example, that there are too few available properties, and many other urgencies on the waiting list - then we can understand. We have requested and approved a plan of action from Amsterdam."