Berlin's acting mayor Franziska Giffey's claims Berlin is "at capacity" in terms of housing refugees | Photo: Dorothee Barth/dpa/picture-alliance
Berlin's acting mayor Franziska Giffey's claims Berlin is "at capacity" in terms of housing refugees | Photo: Dorothee Barth/dpa/picture-alliance

Berlin's governing mayor, Franziska Giffey, has warned that the city will soon be "at capacity" and will no longer have enough accommodation or money to adequately provide for refugees.

According to Berlin's Mayor Franziska Giffey the city will soon no longer be able to accommodate the growing number of refugee arrivals. She said that 100,000 Ukrainians alone live in the German capital, claiming that the city is "at capacity" in terms of taking in more refugees.

Not only Berlin is affected by an accommodation shortage, many cities across the country have warned of a general housing shortage, with refugee accommodation being particularly scarce.

"We city-states in particular, and especially Berlin as the main attraction, have now almost exhausted our capacities (...)," she told German tabloid Bild am Sonntag.

Giffey urged for new measures "instead of resolutions" asking for more social housing to be built by the federal government "to accommodate people well, financial support for the immense costs and a fair distribution across the federal territory."

Gerd Landsberg, chief executive of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, also told the newspaper that concrete measures are needed, not just resolutions.

He said that accommodation options are limited, "hotel rooms are already being rented and collective accommodation, for example in gymnasiums, is being prepared."

Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer, meanwhile, echoed similar demands.

"The federal government must finally support the financing of the accommodation. The municipalities are at their limit, without the promised support they will soon no longer be able to act," he told Bild am Sonntag.

Also read: German states face housing shortage for refugees

New refugee accommodation opens in Berlin

In view of rising numbers of war refugees from Ukraine as well as asylum seekers, Berlin has opened up another shelter. Up to 60 people were to be accommodated in a former hotel in the north-western district of Moabit on Friday (October 21) evening, according to the State Office for Refugee Accommodation (LAF). Maximum occupancy at the center is set at 300 people and is expected to be reached in the coming days, it said. Residents had been informed by letter before the opening of the new accommodation.

Integration Senator Katja Kipping (Left Party) recently described the accommodation of refugees in Berlin as increasingly difficult, the Berliner Morgenpost reported. Since the summer, the number of asylum seekers has increased significantly. In the first nine months of the year, 12,237 new asylum seekers were registered, almost double that in the same period last year (7812), and in 2021 there were 12,175 registered in total. A large proportion of these, although not all, will remain in Berlin for the time being.

This overall increase is also reflected in the number of naturalization applications in Hamburg this year, the highest it has been for 22 years. So far, about 8100 applications for naturalization have been filed, and by the end of the year there will be about 10,500 applications, according to the Office for Migration.

The LAF says it is trying to find more accommodation. According to Kipping, around 6,000 new places have been created in reception and shared facilities in recent months, bringing the total to 27,700.

Also read: Germany: Finding housing as a refugee – an obstacle course (2/3)

Russia pushing for new 'refugee crisis'

Around 340,000 people from Ukraine have already received initial care in Berlin, according to Giffey. Of those, 100,000 would have been placed in more long-term accommodation there in the meantime. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal warned of a "migration tsunami" if Russian troops continue to deliberately destroy Ukraine's civilian infrastructure.

"They want a new refugee crisis in the EU. Because if there is no more electricity, no more heating, no more water in Ukraine, that can trigger a new migration tsunami," Schmyhal told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung FAZ.

Also read: 'No tents, no gymnasiums': Germany considers where to put refugees and asylum seekers


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