Safety regions, municipalities and private individuals offer refugees a safe place to stay
Thanks to the tireless efforts of a large group of dedicated staff at municipalities and safety regions (veiligheidsregio’s), accommodation has been found in the Netherlands for 33,796 refugees from Ukraine; 24,020 of these places are already occupied. Thousands of private citizens are also opening their homes to refugees.
Russian aggression in Ukraine has inflicted human suffering on a scale that is posing major challenges, including for the Netherlands. The true dimensions of those challenges are uncertain, as that will depend on the length and course of the war, the amount of damage caused and other unforeseeable developments. It is conceivable that Ukrainian refugees will be part of our society for a considerable period of time.
The government is making projections for a variety of scenarios. We have to stand ready to help anyone who has fled Ukraine and come to the Netherlands. We are united in our efforts to meet this responsibility.
With this in mind, the Ministerial Crisis Management Committee (MCCb) for the reception of Ukrainian refugees met again today. A number of decisions were made at this meeting.
No effect on host’s benefits
When refugees from Ukraine register at the same address as their host, they may, in certain cases, count as the host’s benefit partner. They may also count as a member of the household for the purposes of housing benefits. The government is keen to prevent a state of affairs in which people end up having their benefits cut because they have taken in refugees from Ukraine. It is therefore working on a solution to ensure that this does not happen. The specifics of this plan will be submitted to the House of Representatives.
Financial agreements with municipalities
Municipalities and safety regions receive reasonable compensation for the reception of refugees. The government will follow the basic principle that these entities should not suffer financial consequences as a result of taking in refugees. When it comes to housing, municipalities can enter into a contract with a location for a period of up to 12 months. This seems to be a workable solution in practice. Municipalities are being asked to take account of the possibility that a location may also need to be used, at short notice, for student housing and people in urgent need of housing.
Emergency aid for students
The government has decided to initially set aside up to €2.5 million for emergency aid for Ukrainian students in senior secondary vocational education (MBO) and higher education. This aid is intended for current students who were already studying in the Netherlands before the war in Ukraine broke out and who are now suffering its consequences. Various MBO and higher education institutions are currently providing emergency aid to students. Because these institutions do not have sufficient resources to help these students, the government is stepping in.