There is a growing shortage of accommodation in asylum seekers centres in the Netherlands and a lack of starter homes for refugees with a temporary residence permit, broadcaster Nos says on Thursday.
Over the past five years, the number of refugees who are entitled to a home has risen from 5,300 to over 12,000 but they continue to occupy places at centres because there is nowhere else for them to live.
Some 27,000 people currently live in refugee centres, the highest figure in 10 years.
Around one-third of the refugees in the Netherlands have a family member who is already here.
‘That means we have to find accommodation for not just one person, but an additional three or four,’ Jan Stalman, spokesman for refugee settlement agency COA told the Nos.
But refugees, he pointed out, cannot begin to undergo integration courses and find work until they have a home and are on a local authority registry.
People from Syria and Eritrea are almost always given refugee status and are entitled to a home and to bring in their families because they cannot be sent back to war zones.
‘We have to put them up in asylum seekers centres until a home becomes available,’ Stalman said. ‘It is really important that we develop initiatives to improve the supply of regular housing.’
Amsterdam needs to find over 850 homes for asylum seekers to meet its targets while The Hague has a shortage of 280. Rotterdam and Utrecht each need to find around 210 homes. Eindhoven and Tilburg, by contrast, have exceeded their targets.
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