Wednesday 10 August 2022

Refugee charity heads for court to break housing deadlock

Refugee children on the Syrian border.Refugee aid group Vluchtelingenwerk is taking the government to court for its failure to solve the accommodation crisis for asylum seekers, and expects the paperwork will be finalised in three weeks.

The situation at refugee centres has further deteriorated below acceptable levels from a humanitarian standpoint, the aid agency said on Sunday. For months new arrivals have been unable to count on the ‘most basic’ services, such as decent food and clean showers and hundreds have been sleeping outdoors because there are not enough beds.

Vluchtelingenwerk had said at the beginning of July if would head for court if there were no improvements.

Vluchtelingenwerk argues that the state and local authorities have failed, because they cannot agree who should be responsible for providing decent accommodation. ‘We want to break that impasse by heading for court,’ the aid group said.

Ministers are working on new legislation which would allow them to order local authorities to provide accommodation when needed, but that is likely to take until next year to come into effect.

COA

The NRC reported on Friday that the Dutch refugee agency COA is on the verge of collapse, with almost one in three workers at the Ter Apel reception centre out sick,

The absenteeism rate is high at other locations – reaching 9% nationwide – which is almost double the national average, the NRC said. The agency is also struggling to fill over 1,000 vacancies by the end of the year, which will add around 25% to its current workforce.

The agency is currently taking care of 43,000 refugees, both people who have recently applied for asylum and over 15,000 who have been granted residency rights but cannot be housed elsewhere. Long delays in processing applications are additional problem.

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