Dutch Cabinet to shelter 15,000 refugees in government buildings
The Cabinet is going to make buildings owned by the central government’s real estate agency available for the reception of refugees. This means that 15,000 places can be created, said Public Housing Minister Hugo de Jonge after the weekly meeting of Cabinet ministers on Friday. They may be housed in office buildings, as an example, De Jonge said. The use of one prison is also under consideration, as are buildings that can be converted into living spaces.
The places are not only intended for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of their home country, but also for people from other countries who have applied for asylum in the Netherlands. The Cabinet is allocating 75 million euros to make the buildings suitable for the temporary reception of refugees.
In the coming weeks, the buildings must be prepared to receive people. The buildings are then made available to municipalities, who will further arrange the reception.
The 15,000 places will be made available to municipalities, which arrange the reception of Ukrainians, and to the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, which is charged with housing people who apply for asylum. There has been a shortage of places for asylum seekers for a long time, because people without a residency status cannot move on to a normal home. They then stay for an extended period in asylum centers.
According to State Secretary Eric van der Burg, who handles the Cabinet’s asylum portfolio, municipalities have so far arranged about 27,000 places for Ukrainians, 17,000 of which are occupied. But the number of people coming to the Netherlands is "steadily" increasing, he said.
"We also receive indications from other countries, for example Germany and the border countries, that people will continue to come from Ukraine."
Reporting by ANP