Ministers intervene, earmark two locations for refugee housing


Ministers have confirmed that they will start forcing local authorities to accept refugees if they persistently refuse to change zoning plans to allow suitable buildings to be used as temporary housing.

The state would rather not go so far, but will use the legal instruments at their disposal to bypass local officials if necessary, housing minister Hugo de Jonge and junior justice minister Eric van der Burg have told MPs in a briefing.

Currently ministers have their eyes on two locations, which could provide housing for 1,000 refugees between them, both of which are owned by the state. The ministers did not name the local authorities but did say talks are underway.

Efforts to permanently solve the problem by appealing to local councils have failed to produce enough beds and ministers said in May they would commandeer empty state-owned buildings to use as emergency accommodation.

One reason for the overcrowding in refugee centres is the lack of suitable accommodation for people who have been given residency permits. The refugee agency is currently providing beds for some 40,000 people, but 15,000 of them should have moved into regular housing.

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