MP’s reject proposal to block refugees from housing priority list
There seems to be little support in parliament for a private member's bill by PVV MP Alexander Knops to make it impossible for municipalities to give refugees priority for housing simply because they are refugees. According to Knops, the bill would give every home seeker equal opportunities.
The first substantive debate on the proposal happened in parliament on Tuesday evening. Of the parties present, the PVV, FvD, Wybren van Haga, JA21, and BBB expressed support. BBB parliamentarian Caroline van der Plas said that the priority status for refugees could no longer be explained to the population. According to her, it threatens "support for the reception of refugees."
Opponents said that the bill offers no concrete solution for the stalling flow of refugees out of asylum centers. CDA parliamentarian Jaco Geurt pointed out that municipalities' task to accommodate a certain number of refugees every six months will continue to exist. Anne-Marijke Podt (D66) called it "ugly politics that refugees are designated as scapegoats." The problem lies with the housing shortage, not with "people who have fled war and violence."
VVD parliamentarian Peter de Groot also pointed out snags. He supports the idea that municipalities shouldn't be forced to accommodate refugees with priority. But instead of a ban, De Groot argues for creating temporary housing for refugees so that the flow from asylum centers can get going. A ban on priority for refugees can also hinder the flow of this group to temporary housing. So the VVD parliamentarian remains not fully convinced.
The debate about this bill is happening when there is a lot of discussion about the accommodation of refugees. The asylum registration center in Ter Apel is constantly on the point of overflowing, resulting in people having to sleep on chairs many nights. Last week, Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Housing and State Secretary Eric van der Burg for Asylum announced that provinces would enforce that municipalities take in their share of refugees based on a six-monthly target. Many refugees are nevertheless still stuck in overcrowded asylum seekers' centers because there is nowhere for them to move.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times