In view of the strong influx of asylum seekers and refugees to Berlin, accommodation options are slowly becoming scarce. At the moment there are only fewer than 200 free places in community accommodation, said Integration Senator Katja Kipping (left) on Tuesday after the Senate session. Since these are spread over 75 accommodations, it becomes a problem to accommodate all family members together in one place.

In addition, according to the administration, there are still 674 free places in reception facilities, in which the newcomers should actually only stay for a short time. In total, the free capacities amount to 854 places – of around 30,000 existing places. “The situation is serious, even if arrival numbers don’t skyrocket again,” said Kipping. “The free places available for refugees in communal accommodation are melting like ice in the sun.”

Kipping said demand had steadily increased in recent months, not least as a result of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. According to her, 450 to 750 refugees from Ukraine had to be accommodated monthly by the State Office for Refugee Affairs. In addition, around 200 former local Bundeswehr personnel from Afghanistan are added each month. And regular asylum seekers continue to arrive in Berlin: in May there were 1,080. On average, 1700 to 2000 new places would be needed per month.

According to Kipping, the Senate is trying to take short-term countermeasures with various measures to prevent homelessness among refugees. The opening of a new modular accommodation (Muf) in the Lichtenberg district is being brought forward.

In addition, the container village on Columbiadamm at the former Tempelhof Airport, which was once used for refugees, will be reactivated and used as emergency accommodation. Initially, 270 places could be occupied there, the capacity will then be gradually increased to up to 740 places. Older container systems with a lower standard that were actually intended for closure would now have to be used longer.

Kipping announced even greater efforts to rent new accommodations. Recently, this has been successful in some cases, but not with around 50 objects. The senator cited excessive financial demands from the owners as an important reason.

Kipping admitted that due to the tense situation, losses in the quality of accommodation could not be avoided. As examples, she cited a denser occupancy of accommodation or providing the refugees with catering instead of their own cooking facilities.

According to the senator, the arrival center for Ukraine refugees at the former Tegel Airport will be available longer than initially planned. As a precaution, the Senate decided to extend the operating contract until November 30th. The contract with a consortium of aid organizations was supposed to end on August 31st.

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