Asylum seeker hotel deal reached, with 150 set to reside in Albergen; Delft to house 220
The municipality of Tubbergen, the national government and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) have reached agreement on the reception of asylum seekers at the Hotel 't Elshuys in the village of Albergen. A maximum of 150 asylum seekers will be accommodated in the hotel. The first residents in Albergen are expected to arrive in October, the municipality said in a press release.
All residents will be accommodated in the existing building. The COA will no longer erect temporary “residential units” next to the hotel for more asylum seekers. "This creates a reception location that fits the scale of Tubbergen," according to the municipality, of which Albergen is a part.
It has also been agreed that approximately one third of the residents will consist of people who were granted refugee status with Dutch residency rights, but who do not yet have a permanent home.
The COA bought the hotel without the municipality's knowledge to accommodate up to 300 asylum seekers. It was the first time the government intended to house asylum seekers in a municipality without first negotiating a deal. It caused a great deal of unrest and anger in Albergen, which lies in the Twente region of Overijssel. As a result, there were several demonstrations held at the hotel.
Last week, State Secretary Eric van der Burg for asylum policy entered into a discussion with the city council and others to listen to their concerns. On Tuesday, the council adopted a motion that a maximum of 150 asylum seekers may enter the hotel, RTV Oost reported.
"In the last fourteen days, many conversations have been held with our residents, the city council, the state secretary and the COA. Sometimes harsh words have been said," stated Mayor Wilmien Haverkamp of the municipality of Tubbergen.
"I am sure that many residents of Tubbergen want to help make their stay at our reception location as pleasant and useful as possible. Looking after each other, helping each other further: that fits in with the noaberschap for which our region is known.”
The word “noaberschap” in the Twents dialect refers to neighborly attitudes within a small community.
More than 200 asylum seekers to Delft on Saturday
Separately, the municipality of Delft announced that an asylum center will open there on Saturday. The facility is located at Manderspark, near the university, and will house 220 asylum seekers for up to five months.
The municipality said in May that the shelter would be opened and the buildings are already in place, but vacant. This led to frustration among local councilors, who wondered why the asylum seekers were not yet there.
Delft officials revealed that legionella has been found in a water pipe, making the plumbing unusable for the time being. "To solve this problem properly and at the same time to ensure that the location can open as soon as possible, the COA is temporarily deploying water tanks. These are used for drinking water and sanitary purposes. As a result, the complex can now be put into use," the city said.
The temporary reception should help to reduce the pressure on the application center in Ter Apel and on the other asylum seeker centers. The asylum chain had ground to a standstill because there were not enough reception places.
Reporting by ANP