Building flexible homes going more slowly than government hoped
The number of flexible homes in the Netherlands is increasing, but not at the speed the government hoped it would to tackle the housing shortage. Achieving the Cabinet’s goal of 37,500 flexible homes before the end of 2024 will be a real challenge, the Volkskrant reported after speaking with parties involved.
Flexible housing is temporary, but longer-term housing that can be used for a maximum of 15 years. These are often prefabricated structures built in a factory and placed on site. Last week, the government announced it plans to build 7,500 flexible homes this year and 15,000 each in 2023 and 2024 to help solve the crisis in asylum reception. The homes can also be used for students and others who qualify for social housing. But the process of realizing them is taking longer than expected, according to the newspaper.
Municipalities must find suitable locations, arrange permits, speak with locals, and deal with objections. Then the homes must be ordered from flexible housing factories, which are flooded with requests and expanding their production. Then the houses need to be placed and connected to the utilities. All that takes time. Dealing with locals’ objections is a particular bottleneck, the Volkskrant wrote.
“If we want to achieve this, the administrative mills in the Netherlands will have to turn faster,” director Antonie ter Harmsel of Hodes, a company that builds flexible homes, said to the newspaper. “We get a lot of requests, but only as mall part of them leads to quick action.”
“This year, we will nog get further than 7,500 flexible homes, “ Wim Reedijk, director of the Expertise Center on Flexible Housing, said to the newspaper. “We will therefore achieve the target for 2022 that the Minister announced last week. But that annual 15,000 in the years after will be quite a challenge.”
“If we want to achieve the amount that the government is now asking for, we have to work very hard, and everything has to go well,” said Charlotte Meulenbelt, the project leader for flexible housing at housing corporation Ymere.