In a few days, the first Ukrainians are expected to arrive in Eindhoven. In order to steer everything in the right direction, the municipality needs a lot of help, says alderman for Housing Yasin Torunoglu.
“The situation is heartbreaking,” says Torunoglu, who says he even considered driving to Ukraine. “Because the time of signing petitions is over”, says the alderman. “That’s why it’s also important that we, as a city, take responsibility.”
And taking that responsibility comes with a high workload.” The expectation is that in a few days the first refugees will arrive here. That calls for a crisis approach. We have to make sure that people who are traumatised and leave their homes behind can be warmly welcomed into our city.”
“There is a lot of work ahead of us” – Yasin Torunoglu, Alderman for Housing
No asylum seekers
“With the Ukrainians, it is different,” explains Torunoglu. “They have a free travel option of 90 days. They are not asylum seekers and do not end up in the COA (‘Centraal Orgaan Opvang Asielzoekers’- Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers). That’s why we have to organise it ourselves. We have to work with the housing corporations to give those people a roof over their heads.”
“With other organisations such as Wij Eindhoven, the Salvation Army and Springplank, we have to work together to accommodate these people. In addition, we must look into citizen service numbers for those people, for safety reasons, but we must also arrange for health care. It is a lot of work that awaits us”, says the alderman.
It does not look like the city will have everything ready the moment the first refugees come in. “No, because we are also overwhelmed by everything that is happening in the world, with everything that awaits us. But I am confident that we can do it. There is a whole network of people who are prepared to receive the first refugees. This gives us time to set up the right infrastructure to receive the Ukrainians. But to get it right, everyone needs to roll up their sleeves.”
“It requires compromises from our residents”-Yasin Torunoglu, Alderman for housing
Torunoglu understands, if the refugees stay here longer, will also be added to a housing market that is severely strained. “If we have to house these people in the long term, it will make the housing challenge in the city even greater,” says the alderman.
But Torunoglu also sees solutions here: “In one year, we will put up 700 temporary homes. But there is room in the city for at least another 5,000 of these houses. But if we want to give the people of Eindhoven an affordable roof over their heads and give the Ukrainians a good and safe place to live, then we really need to get our residents to put their money where their mouth is.
Torunoglu says that the municipality already has locations in mind for the extra shelters. He does not yet want to say which ones. “The research into the feasibility of the locations is still ongoing. When we announce them, we want to discuss with the local residents how we can best organise things.”
Translator: Simge Tasdemir