Amsterdam Labour councillors don’t back refugee priority plan
Suggestions that refugees with residency permits be given priority for social housing in Amsterdam are unlikely to get majority support on the city council, because the ruling Labour party is not in favour of the idea, the Parool reported on Thursday.
The party, the paper said, considers it ‘undesirable’ to differentiate between different, vulnerable groups.
The PvdA is the biggest party on the city council and has formed a coalition with GroenLinks and D66. Those two parties, together with Bij1 and Denk, had suggested the council’s executive follow Utrecht in reserving housing for refugees. Council chiefs have not yet responded.
Labour councillor Fatihya Abdi described the situation facing asylum seekers at the Ter Apel reception centre in Groningen as ‘inhumane, but unfortunately not new’. One of the reasons for the chaos is the shortage of regular housing for refugees who have been given the right to stay in the country.
‘Given the housing market shortages, we are doing everything we can to house all the vulnerable groups in our city, from the homeless to youngsters who have left the social care system,’ she said.
‘That is why we, as the PvdA, do not think it appropriate to differentiate between vulnerable groups. But we will first wait for the reaction from the city administration.’
Utrecht said earlier this month that all social housing which becomes available during a six week period from August 1 would be used to ease shortage of housing for refugees with residency status.
Some 15,000 people living in refugee centres should have been moved to regular housing, but the shortage of social housing nationwide is causing waiting lists to increase on a daily basis.
All local authorities are required to provide housing for refugees with residency status, depending on their size. Amsterdam should have housed 768 refugees in the past six months but has only found accommodation for 320.
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