Concerns about long-term reception of Ukrainians, more and more complaints

NOS

NOS News

  • Rolinde Horntje

    Editor for asylum affairs

  • Rolinde Horntje

    Editor for asylum affairs

Organizations are concerned about the long-term reception of Ukrainian refugees. Now that many Ukrainians have lived in the Netherlands for more than six months, there are more and more complaints about the quality of reception.

This is also the case in Venlo, where the reception in an old defense building leads to complaints from residents. The property, which is managed by position manager Monoma (formerly Camelot), can accommodate 70 people.

Ukrainians live there with five people in a room of 36 square meters without partitions or partitions and have almost no privacy. The living money they receive varies widely and does not correspond to the guidelines drawn up by the government. There is not enough food either, the residents say. Twice a week half a loaf of bread is distributed per person and once a day an apple or a banana and a frozen meal.

Venlo municipality says that the food is of sufficient quality and is served once a day with good reason. Previously, refugees would have ‘hoarded’ food. With regard to the payment of the living allowance, the municipality acknowledges that an administrative error has been committed by a small part of the residents. “We regret that, and we will of course rectify this in consultation with those concerned in the short term.”

It plays in several places

The Opora Foundation, which advocates the interests of Ukrainians in the Netherlands, is concerned. “It happens more often that the care at a municipal reception center is outsourced to commercial parties,” says founder and migration researcher Maria Shaidrova, who conducts research among Ukrainian refugees in the Netherlands.

“There isn’t always enough control from the municipality, and there isn’t either”checks and balances‘. Ukrainians do not know where to turn with a complaint. There are no confidential advisors present. Most of the information they receive from the municipality is in Dutch. Often people don’t dare go to the police for fear of the consequences,’ says Shaidrova.

Ukrainians regularly feel intimidated by security, says Shaidrova. The Ukrainian refugees, who spoke to local TV station L1 last night, were told by security to “go in now or you will not enter the building at all.”

The problems also arise elsewhere, says Shaidrova. In Zaandam, refugees stayed for weeks on a boat without a ventilation system. In the former Rabobank office in Eindhoven, where two hundred refugees from Ukraine live, residents complain of insufficient privacy and tight security. Bags were regularly searched for weapons.

It would also be disproportionately hard; a resident who had raised his middle finger was reportedly kicked out of the shelter. The food, from the same catering company as in Venlo, led to complaints.

The problems were discussed at the council meeting in Eindhoven’s municipality. Shelter provider Springplank040 explained to the local TV station that the Rabobank building is not actually suitable for this type of shelter. “The building is a good crisis shelter, but not a residential area, and that is how it is now being used.”

Different rhythms, different food

The Refugee Foundation recognizes the picture. “We are also receiving more and more signals from disaffected Ukrainians,” a spokesman said. “Our impression is that the shelter is not getting much worse, but now that the shelter lasts longer, there are more complaints. People work, for example, night shift, but share the rooms with people who work during the day. If you can” When cooking, food is what you eat. You don’t always get what you want. You want to cook your own food and live your own life. That’s not possible in many places.”

The municipalities also struggle with that, says Vluchtelingenwerk. They do not feel well supported by the government. “Many municipalities are struggling with staff shortages. It is also a difficult decision for them to invest in a location, because it is not clear how long it will remain open and what this means for a municipality in the long and medium term.” The Association of Dutch Municipalities declined to answer questions on this topic.

It also regularly goes well, emphasizes Shaidrova, but then it is often organizations where an organization with experience in caring for vulnerable people has been appointed, such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army or the Regenboog Foundation in Amsterdam.

The location in Venlo is managed by Monoma, formerly Camelot, the largest anti-squat company in the Netherlands, which has been repeatedly criticized by Dutch and Belgian courts for its poor treatment of tenants.

After a name change, the company from Brabant has placed its job posting management under the Monoma brand. At the moment, the vacant boss, together with the municipalities of Tilburg, Hoorn, Altena, Venlo and Delft, provides shelter for thousands of Ukrainians, as can be read on the page. Monoma says it does not recognize itself in the sketched image and refers to the municipality as a spokesperson.

Reception capacity for Ukrainians is currently 96 percent full. As reception continues to fill up and the expected number of refugees from Ukraine continues to rise this winter, there is a chance that municipalities will have to turn to commercial parties more often, says Shaidrova. She is worried. “There is too little supervision.”

At a certain point, things start to turn in all directions, says Vluchtelingenwerk. “A solution is not immediately available. The government must come up with a medium-term plan.”

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