Groningen offers housing for failed asylum seekers as nat'l policy stalls

Asylum seekers
Asylum seekers. ()

The city of Groningen is putting down a new building to offer so-called 'bed, bath and bread' shelter for failed asylum seekers. Security and Justice State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD) wants to ban municipalities from housing failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, but talks on what to do about shelter for people who can not be deported stalled last year, NOS reports.

Since the negotiations stalled there has been a stalemate about where failed asylum seekers should go. They can no longer stay in asylum centers and most municipalities don't want to leave them living on the streets. The only clear thing is that municipalities have to pay for accommodating failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants themselves. Groningen spends a total of 3 million euros a year for this type of accommodation, according to the broadcaster.

D66 alderman in Groningen Ton Schoor hopes that the new cabinet can come up with a solution that "gives recognition that we can not rely on a paper reality", he said to NOS. "These people are here. And we don't want them to sleep under the bridge." 

Groningen is in any case not waiting to see what the new cabinet comes up with. The city is building a complex with 176 rooms on Helsinkistraat, specifically to shelter failed asylum seekers. The city needs extra space because there is an increase of failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants on its streets. After this shelter is ready, Groningen will have room for 315 people.

According to LOS, the Dutch organization for supporting undocumented migrants, the Netherlands currently has over 2 thousand people making use of bead-bath-bread accommodation across dozens of locations in the country. Most live in the larger cities. Groningen sees relatively many failed asylum seekers because it is located close to the arrival and leaving center in Ter Apel.

What to do about failed asylum seekers promises to be a sensitive issue for the four parties currently negotiating on forming a government, the VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks. The parties have very different ideas on the matter. GroenLinks, for example, wants the government to help pay municipalities for reception of failed asylum seekers and also for them to receive guidance and money. The VVD on the other hand does not want to give failed asylum seekers anything because it would remove the "incentive for departure".