€730 mil. to fixing asylum shelter crisis; Municipalities must provide 20,000 homes
The government is pushing over 730 million euros into combating the asylum reception crisis in the coming years. The money must help create more emergency shelters, housing, and flexible housing, help asylum seekers integrate, and help tackle nuisance. Municipalities must also make 20,000 homes available for refugees - asylum seekers with a residency permit - this fall, RTL Nieuws reports based on a draft agreement between the Cabinet and municipalities.
The first goal is to ensure people no longer have to sleep outside at the registration center in Ter Apel. Over the past days, some 700 asylum seekers slept outside every night, a 3-month-old baby died, and two asylum seekers had to be rushed to a hospital. One had a heart attack, and the other hadn’t had insulin to treat his diabetes in months.
The government will set up a second location near Ter Apel, in a nearby municipality, where asylum seekers can stay if Ter Apel is overflowing. It will be nearby so they can easily reach the registration center to file their asylum application.
Ter Apel will be designated as a “security risk area” until October 1 so that the police can conduct preventive searches. The national and local governments are also considering an emergency ordinance so that the police can send people away to prevent chaos.
Each of the 25 security regions must create 225 extra crisis reception spaces. The central government will pay for the shelter and all its associated costs. This crisis reception is temporary, and the goal is to phase it out before the start of 2023. These crisis shelters don’t have to meet the usual standard for asylum reception, but they must be safe and hygienic.
In addition to crisis shelters, the Dutch municipalities must make more homes available to refugees - asylum seekers whose application was approved. The goal in the agreement is 20,000 homes before this autumn. The government also wants to create more flexible and shared homes - 37,500 before the end of 2024, according to the broadcaster.
Before October 1, the government plans to introduce an emergency law that will allow it to force municipalities to take in a certain number of asylum seekers. According to the agreement, municipalities can take over this task from one another. For example, if one municipality has more homes available for refugees and another has room to shelter asylum seekers, they can switch out these tasks. The provinces will play a decisive role here, but what that will look like is not yet clear.
The agreement also states that the Netherlands will not stop taking in asylum seekers at this time, according to RTL Nieuws. Responsible State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) will present “a political choice” on this point before October 1. Sources told RTL that the Cabinet is considering temporarily halting family reunification.