Reduced need for temporary housing for protection-seekers from Ukraine
There is currently sufficient temporary housing to cover the immediate needs of people seeking protection in Sweden. At the same time, work on the procurement of more long-term accommodation is continuing.
”I am full of praise for all those who have responded quickly and helped to organise housing,” says Magnus Önnestig, Director at the Swedish Migration Agency.
The need for housing is determined by how many people from Ukraine come to Sweden to seek protection and how large a proportion of them need housing organised by the Swedish Migration Agency. At the moment, the Swedish Migration Agency is able to provide places to those in urgent need of temporary housing but the authority is continuing to expand its capacity to meet long-term needs as well.
In early March, the Swedish Migration Agency sent out a request to Sweden’s municipalities, via the County Administrative Boards, regarding “evacuation sites” for temporary housing.
”Many municipalities responded to that request and at short notice organised evacuation sites in, for example, sports halls or at campsites. We are very grateful for the municipalities’ efforts. Without that, we could not have coped,” says Magnus Önnestig.
So far, about 4,500 places at municipal evacuation sites have been activated and made available to the authority.
Housing situation has stabilised
Because the situation has stabilised when compared with the assessment made in early March, the Swedish Migration Agency now sees a reduced need for evacuation sites. Instead of a total of 12,000 places, the need is now for 6,000 places. The Swedish Migration Agency will primarily continue to use the evacuation sites that are already in operation.
”We will still need the municipalities’ evacuation sites in order to meet people’s immediate need for a roof over their heads, but to a lesser extent than we previously estimated. However, we must stress that our assessment may change if the number of protection-seekers changes,” says Magnus Önnestig.
One important reason for the change from 12,000 to 6,000 places is that the Swedish Migration Agency’s efforts to procure housing places have been successful.
”The procurement of housing places is dependent on suppliers showing an interest and offering their services. Up to now, there has been a lot of interest. On the basis of our requirements, procured housing places are more suitable for long-term accommodation,” says Magnus Önnestig.
The County Administrative Boards’ inventory
As the Swedish Migration Agency has adjusted its need for evacuation sites, the County Administrative Boards have recently presented an inventory of the municipalities’ total number of housing places in the short, intermediate and long term. The inventory has been drawn up on behalf of the government and shows that, all in all, the municipalities can provide about 74,000 housing places, both short-term evacuation sites and more long-term forms of accommodation.
”The Swedish Migration Agency has received the inventory which will be an important document for our continued work. Our goal is to have a system that will enable an even distribution all over Sweden,” says Magnus Önnestig.
- Housing facilities on arrival. When a person applies for protection, the Swedish Migration Agency first registers the application. Sometimes, the applicant will stay for a short time at a facility close to the Swedish Migration Agency’s office. Such facilities are located close to Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö. The Swedish Migration Agency rents the facilities and uses its own employees who work on site.
- Housing during the investigation period. After the Swedish Migration Agency has registered an application for protection, a place is provided to those who need it. In the first instance, a person who has applied for protection in Sweden is offered accommodation where he or she is able to cook their own food. The Swedish Migration Agency rents the accommodation and in some cases runs it using their own employees. Some examples are apartments or large buildings where people live in a collective.
- Procured accommodation. If the accommodation that the Swedish Migration Agency rents is insufficient, the authority can procure temporary housing. When procuring housing, the Swedish Migration Agency purchases both the accommodation site itself and the services linked to the operation of the housing. In the first instance, housing of this sort will include facilities so the residents can cook their own food; in the second instance, the authority procures accommodation where the supplier organises food.
- Temporary places in extraordinary situations. If the number of people who are in need of housing exceeds the number of places the Swedish Migration Agency has access to, the municipalities’ “evacuation sites” with temporary housing may be needed to accommodate new arrivals. These are basic forms of accommodation which are intended for a short period of time, for example, at campsites, in schools and sports halls.
- The Swedish Migration Agency procures and manages different forms of accommodation for persons seeking protection. Currently, the Swedish Migration Agency has access to just under 20,000 housing places, distributed among four different forms of accommodation (see below). Under the current plan, by June, the Swedish Migration Agency’s reception system will encompass a total of 70,000 housing places.