Refugees increasingly have to share homes in Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander at an asylum center
King Willem-Alexander on visit to the asylum center in Ter Apel, 19 Jan 2016 (Photo: @koninklijkhuis/Twitter). (Photo: Rotapool / Robin van Lonkhuijsen via RVD, @koninklijkhuis / Twitter))

Refugees who received a residency permit in the Netherlands increasingly have to share living space with other refugees, because Dutch municipalities can not find enough homes to house them all, the Volkskrant reports based on a survey of the 25 largest municipalities in the Netherlands.

Many municipalities face a shortage of social housing, while the number of refugees increased significantly over the past year. Currently about 16 thousand refugees are awaiting a home.

A major obstacle the municipalities face is that about half of the 33 thousand asylum seekers who arrived in the Netherlands last year are men who are in the country alone. Social housing is mostly designed for families.

Many large municipalities see an adequate solution to this problem in housing single refugees rooms, so that rental properties are optimally used. Refugees in Amsterdam, Zaandam, Breda, Almere, Utrecht, Zaanstad and Haarlemmermeer, among others, are sharing homes with other single refugees.

"In this way we can maximize the housing stock", a spokesperson for the Haarlemmermeer municipality said to the newspaper. "We expect a high removal rate of refugees awaiting family reunification, through which we ca accommodate many refugees with relatively few homes."