People granted asylum still prioritised for social housing

Service costs can be too high. Photo:
The keys to a home

People who have been granted asylum in the Netherlands get priority in most municipal areas for rental housing, despite a change in the law last year meaning that this is not necessary.

Home minister Kasja Ollongren wrote in a briefing to parliament on Wednesday that in most municipalities, this is still the case, according to a report from research bureau RIGO.

This showed that just under half of municipalities have special rules to allocate social housing, due to pressing need, and 174 of the 176 areas that judge cases by their urgency rather than time on the waiting list give refugees priority.

But it is now up to municipal governments to decide who is prioritised for housing, for example, those with emergency situations, medical or social issues, or those who need to be rehoused during building repairs.

Only people in shelters due to relationship problems or those receiving or giving long-term care must be housed first, notes the NOS broadcaster.

A law that saw people granted asylum as in ‘urgent’ need was changed in July 2017. Ollongren added in her letter that while governments don’t need to prioritise people granted asylum, they are still obliged to provide enough housing for them.

There is a severe shortage of affordable homes in the Netherlands, and Ollongren backed building sector plans to build 75,000 homes a year by 2025 to fill the need, as part of a national homes plan in May.

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