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New plan to ease refugee housing problems

Published: 18 Sep 2012 07:58 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Sep 2012 07:58 GMT+02:00

Even after refugees are granted asylum and receive Swedish resident permits, many opt to stay in refugee housing centres run by the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) because of difficulties finding housing elsewhere.

"Today one of the problems with the establishment process is that it takes too long for newly-arrived refugees to find a place to live," integration minister Erik Ullenhag said in a statement.

Currently, any of Sweden's 290 municipalities that opt to accept refugees qualifies for an annual bonus of 440,000 kronor ($66,500).

However, the funds are paid out regardless of what steps a municipality says it will take to help refugees adjust to life in their new home.

"It takes too long to get housing in the municipalities. That's a huge problem. That means that integration efforts like learning Swedish and efforts by the Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) don't get started," Ullenhag told Sveriges Radio (SR).

"It's also a problem that people who seek asylum are housed together with people who've received residence permits. That's not good from an integration perspective."

In an effort to boost the capacity of municipalities to accept refugees, the government now wants to replace the current lump-sum payments with a performance-based system.

Specifically, the government will offer municipalities funds to cover rental costs that will allow them to keep apartments available in anticipation of the arrival of new refugees.

Ullenhag explained that municipalities could receive up to 12,000 kronor per family to cover rental costs associated with making housing available for newly arrived refugees.

"We hope that the measures now being presented can contribute to a faster and better reception in the municipalities," said Ullenhag.

Speaking with SR, the minister claimed that municipalities that do a particular good job of quickly finding housing for refugees could receive "more than one million kronor".

The measure is expected to cost the government an additional 250 million kronor per year starting in 2014, as well as an addition 15 million kronor per year to cover extra rental costs starting in 2013, according to the broadcaster.

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Your comments about this article

12:16 September 18, 2012 by haliway
They should, first, help labor migrants to find an apartment as it's a hell to rent a long contract second hand apartment (longer than 6 months) in Sweden...
13:21 September 18, 2012 by Migga
Here`s a plan;

Only let in the amount of refugees that you can handle.
14:37 September 18, 2012 by Achilles7
Migga, that's far too crazy a plan. This is Sweden - first we need to take in as many refugees as possible, and THEN, and only then, try to deal with the problems it inevitably gives rise to.
16:27 September 18, 2012 by Flutterbye
Achilles7...Hello, its not only Sweden, same here in the UK, always complaints there are not enough houses when really the problem is too many ppl but try and tell that to the MP's, not PC you see.
23:33 September 18, 2012 by haladeen
The problem could be so easily solved if every multi-culture lover politician would accommodate at least one refugee family as an act of solidarity...
03:07 October 29, 2012 by Darthkuriboh
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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