Government leaves door open for smaller asylum centers
The central agency for the reception of asylum seekers COA is open to discuss smaller asylum centers, as two Brabant mayors requested on Monday. "We can not afford the luxury of rejecting proposals for shelter without proper reasoning. At this time we desperately need every shelter space", COA director Gerard Bakker said to the Volkskrant. He added that if a municipality opts for a small asylum center, they will have to work on finding housing for refugees with residency permits. On Monday mayors Mark Buijs of Boxtel and Jan Hamming of Heusden wrote an open letter calling for smaller shelters housing only 50 to 100 asylum seekers. According to them, these small shelters will "give asylum seekers a face" and communities will welcome them. Up until now the COA stuck to a minimum of 300 asylum seekers per asylum center. Both mayors are happy with Bakker's response and are optimistic about a positive outcome. "The COA is extremely positive about our initiative", Hamming said to the Volkskrant. They expect to be able to "force" a solution with the COS this week.