10,000 Migrants to be Housed in Berlin’s Luxury Hotels While Local Homeless Go Without Shelter

A member of the LAGeso security team watches over asylum-seekers queuing at the State Office of Health and Social Affairs (LAGeSo) registration centre in Berlin on December 10, 2015.

The Berlin Senate has announced an audacious, and some would say totally inappropriate plan to house 10,000 migrants in mid level to luxury hotels in the city with a total price tag of at least 600 million euros.

The senate has requested a contract with Grand City Hotels to lease out 22 hotels to house migrants in the city. According to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine the senate entered negotiations with London-based Hampton Holding, the owners of the popular Holiday Inn and Wyndam hotels in Berlin.

The costs break down at 50 euros a night, 1500 euros a month and 18,000 euros a year. The costs to rent an apartment in Berlin, even in the centre of the city average far lower prices. A quick look on apartment rental sites show much cheaper prices even in the centre of Berlin.

The company who own various hotels in the city like Hotel Berlin Mitte, the Berlin City East and City West, have been incredibly attracted to the idea as the government guarantees an occupancy rate of 95 per cent, something the hotels may only see seasonally rather than all year round when the capacity averages 60-65 per cent at best.

The idea of renting out hotels in Berlin is not without precedent. The 182 room Best Western “President” hotel has been completely rented out to migrants to the tune of 150,000 euros a month. This figure excludes even what are considered “incidental” expenses meaning the actual figure could be even higher per month.

At least 80,000 migrants have come to Berlin since the migrant crisis started last year and the Berlin Senate has tried everything to house them anywhere it can find space. At least 50 school and public gymnasiums have been converted into makeshift asylum centres as well as a former office building and a former savings bank headquarters in the city. It’s expected by officials that next year the numbers will likely match or exceed the 80,000 that have already come, leading many to wonder where else the senate can look for additional housing.

Some in the Berlin senate aren’t as enthusiastic about the arrangement as they see a possibility for corruption between government officials and private business. A senior senate staff member told German paper Der Spiegel, “we almost invite abuse and corruption,” because of the lack of transparency of the deals and the fears that without a competitive bidding structure there is room for the government and the tax payers to get charged far more than they would otherwise.

There has been outrage across social media platforms in Germany and elsewhere on the deal with many commenting on how there are an estimated four to ten thousand homeless on the streets of Berlin and that there has been no mention of them by the senate.

Luxury accommodations for migrants have already been provided in Sweden, as Breitbart reported back in November when Swedish government agencies took luxury cruise ships for housing for migrants as well as ski resorts and hotels.


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