The vast majority of social housing that becomes available in Utrecht is being reserved for refugees for six weeks.
In an attempt to reduce the line of 490 people who have been granted permission to live in the Netherlands and are waiting for a house, the council has decided that from August they will get a period of priority.
They are part of a group of 7,500 people nationally who have been accepted into the Netherlands and need housing. There have been reports of people having to sleep on chairs at Ter Apel refugee centre, and the Red Cross last month dismantled 60 tents it had erected in protest that people were ‘not being taken care of properly.’
The government has appealed for local councils to try to find housing for refugees with ‘settled status’, and Utrecht is – reports NOS – the first to respond.
It is also aiming to build 2,500 temporary social houses in the next 18 months, including 450 due to be built in the summer.
‘The government has appealed to municipalities to speed up housing 7,500 settled status-holders by 2022, including 490 in the municipality of Utrecht,’ Dennis de Vries, head of housing, told the Telegraaf. ‘This has an impact on everyone seeking housing, and these people are just as important to us. But by dealing with the backlog more quickly, we can return to the normal distribution [of housing] by September.’
Normally, it is reported, 30% of houses are reserved for ‘vulnerable groups’ including refugees and the rest go to people on the social housing waiting list. The typical waiting time for one of the 46,500 homes, reports NRC, is 11 years.
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