A further 2,000 refugees from Ukraine are to be accepted in the German state of Saarland, however the ongoing housing crisis is making it harder for the local government to find suitable accommodation.
Up to 2,000 more refugees from Ukraine are to be accepted in the small southwestern German state of Saarland in the near future. The German federal government relies on an even distribution of refugees across the country. However, Saarland, appears to be lagging behind and has taken in fewer refugees on average than other federal states. The main obstacle is the lack of suitable housing, explained a local mayor.
Saarland will be expected to take in more refugees from Ukraine in the near future, despite the fact that housing is in short supply. Now the local population is being asked to help to accommodate refugees.
Local government appeals to public for help
According to local radio station Saarland Welle SR 3, Jörg Aumann from the Social Democratic Party, deputy president of the Saarland Association of Towns and Municipalities and mayor of Neunkirchen, has asked people with available housing to contact the Office of Social Services. The potential apartment would then be inspected.
Rooms with bathrooms, however, are not suitable for long term accommodation. The government is seeking equipped apartments where people can also cook something for themselves, says Aumann.
Also read: Berlin faces refugee accommodation shortage
Equal treatment of refugees
Speaking to Saarland Welle SR 3, Tobias Schunk from the Saarland Refugee Council claimed that the lack of housing is not the only issue, but rather that it has created a perception of a shortage. He noted that after the war began, fewer refugees actually arrived in Saarland than expected.
He added that the war had just highlighted how bad the issue of housing is in the state. Especially in the cities, he said, it is difficult to find affordable housing, because the newer buildings tend to be in the higher-price range.
However, people who have been living in Saarland for a long time should not experience any disadvantages, Schunk said. Those who are vulnerable should not be played off against those who are even more at risk. Rather, he sees the state and the municipalities as having a duty to provide affordable housing - for everyone.