Vellinge council in refugee children reversal

The local council in Vellinge in southern Sweden has agreed to allow the municipality to house refugee children, reversing its long standing position on the issue.

“We have decided to sign a contract with the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to accept between five and eight refugee children,” council member Lars-Ingvar Ljungman of the Moderate Party told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

Back in November, Vellinge found itself the centre of controversy related to Sweden’s efforts to find housing for unaccompanied refugee children.

Ljungman had protested against a joint venture between the local council in neighbouring Malmö and a private initiative to turn a former youth hostel in Vellinge into temporary shelter.

Around 30 boys from Somalia and Afghanistan, who arrived in Sweden without a parent or guardian, were moved into the accommodation.

At that time, Ljungman said the municipality lacked the necessary means to be considered a good option for the children.

Following his outburst, two opinion polls conducted by the newspaper Sydsvenskan revealed that the majority of Vellinge residents didn’t share his views.

Although a formal decision to accept refugee children in Vellinge has been taken, challenges remain in finding housing for the children.

So far only two families have expressed an interest in allowing refugee children to live with them, a development which disappointed Moderate council member Carina Larsson.

“I thought that there would be more considering that so many expressed their support for Vellinge to accept refugee children,” she told the newspaper.

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