Residents, not refugees, should have housing priority

Coalition parties PvdA and VVD can not agree on how to address the growing demand for rental housing caused by the ever increasing number of refugees. They do, however, agree that Dutch residents should get priority when it comes to rental housing, and not refugees. 

"I can not explain to people who has been on the waiting list for years that a refugee has priority", VVD parliamentarian Roald van der Linde said to NU. The PvdA agrees. "The increase in the number of refugees to Europe must not lead to longer waiting lists here." Labor parliamentarian Jacques Monasch said to the newspaper.

After the European summit on the refugee problem in September, the PvdA wants the cabinet to make firm agreements with municipalities, housing corporations and builders on building more social housing. There has long been a social housing shortage because housing corporations refuse to build more. "As a result, they create so that the rents remain high", Monasch said. But the VVD thinks that more social housing would "blow the system".

To prevent this shortage getting further out of control, the PvdA wants to stop the demolition of social housing, turn empty office buildings into homes and place more container homes. The party also wants housing corporations to stop building large and expensive social homes, and instead focus on smaller homes with lower rents that you can build more of. "Widen the offer", Monasch said to the newspaper. "The for Dutch people are already enormous."

The VVD, on the other hand, wants to solve the problem by possibly amending the Housing Act, which states that refugees with residence status get priority in the allocation of social housing. The party no longer wants to give refugees with temporary residency permits, such as Syrians, priority, only those with permanent residence status. Van der Linde wants the cabinet to make it possible for municipalities to accommodate refugees with temporary permits in office buildings, vacant homes that are on sale and container houses. These would not be turned into social housing. "We do not want more permanent social housing", the MP said.

The Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, will be debating with Minister Stef Blok of Housing on Wednesday on the priority given to refugees in the allocation of rental homes.