After Berlin’s Social Senator Katja Kipping (left) raised the alarm about the lack of accommodation for refugees, the CDU faction leader in the House of Representatives, Kai Wegner, is now calling for a crisis meeting with the districts as soon as possible. “The Senate has overall responsibility for immediately setting up a joint crisis summit with the districts,” Wegner told the Tagesspiegel.
The multiple failures of the Senate are contributing to the fact that places for war refugees are now becoming scarce. “When refugees come from one emergency situation to another, it’s an undignified situation. The war took everything from them. We have to give them security and good care, ”said the CDU parliamentary group leader.
Wegner also demanded that war refugees should have priority in accommodation. He also sees the federal government as having a duty. “Berlin needs all the support from additional capacities – whether in Berlin or nationwide.” On Wednesday, Kipping triggered the first stage of an emergency plan for accommodating refugees that was drawn up in the spring, as more than 85 percent of the available places are occupied. Of a total of around 26,500 places, only fewer than 400 were still available during the week.
The proclamation of the first stage of the emergency plan meant that a German Red Cross disaster protection tent with a total of 900 places was repaired. According to Kipping, the activation of the emergency plan was also necessary because several federal states had opted out of the “EASY” distribution mechanism for asylum seekers. Since a particularly large number of refugees are registering for the asylum process in Berlin, this hits Berlin particularly hard, Kipping explained.
2515 new places since the beginning of 2022 At the same time, the senator defended herself against allegations that she had done too little to expand the number of accommodation places. A total of 2,515 additional places in accommodation were created this year.
These are distributed unevenly across the districts, as the Senate administration told the Tagesspiegel. According to this, most places were created in Pankow (480) and Treptow-Köpenick (430), followed by Lichtenberg (385), Reinickendorf, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf (350 each), Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg (320) and Marzahn-Hellersdorf (200).
Such living containers would be located in Tempelhof-Schöneberg (350 places), Treptow-Köpenick (290), Spandau, Reinickendorf (245 each) and in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg (160 each). The total number is expected to increase from 1,450 to 1,850.
Many refugees cannot find a place to live. If the situation continues to deteriorate, a second stage of the emergency plan can be launched. If fewer than 700 places are available across Berlin, the Senate can rent hostels and hotels for accommodation.
The occupancy situation in Berlin is also so tense because many people who have already gone through the asylum procedure cannot find an apartment. The Senate is trying to counteract this, among other things, by having the state-owned housing associations rent eleven percent of their vacancies to special need groups such as the homeless or refugees.