Migrant Homes to Cost Taxpayers 2.2 Billion

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Homes for 120,000 migrants in the German capital of Berlin will cost taxpayers a whopping €2.2 billion by 2017.

A new study by brokerage house Aengevelt has revealed that the costs to house the growing migrant population in Berlin could total €2.2 billion by 2017. The group examined current figures for migrants and came to the conclusion that the estimate is not only likely but perhaps even very conservative, Tagesspiegel reports.

It is projected that by next year Berlin will be home to around 120,000 migrants who will need permanent residences. At present, Berlin houses many migrants in school gymnasiums and hotels, but these are considered short term solutions.

The Berlin senate has so far developed at least one plan to rehouse the migrants into what they are calling “migrant villages,” which consist of former shipping containers converted into small scale housing. The 30 or so “villages” will be scattered across the city and will house as many as 15,000 migrants. The project budget is around €70 million, and will see 500 or so migrants housed in each village.

If, as Aengevelt predicts, Berlin will need space for 120,000 migrants, the container migrant villages will be grossly insufficient to bear the burden of housing all of them. Furthermore, the container housing is not a permanent solution — but rather is only intended to last three years.

While some migrants have been able to find their own apartments in the city, many have not and have been moved into former industrial zones called “PUFA” areas. The Berlin senate has given the go ahead to build migrant accommodation without needing the consent of nearby residents.

When municipalities have tried to build migrant homes in heavily residential areas they have been met with resistance and law suits.  The PUFA areas are said to accommodate around 27,000 migrants — which is still far less than the total expected.

Walter Zorn of Aengevelt says that the real problem isn’t the migrants currently in Berlin but the expected family reunifications that will occur this year. He claims that the family reunifications will increase the number of migrants drastically, while the failed German deportation policies will make sure that many migrants who should leave the country will end up staying.

With 90 shelters occupied along with gymnasiums and exhibition halls, Mr. Zorn states that the only answer to the shortage will be the costly refurbishment and conversion of offices and existing residential buildings. Even with an average cost of €1,200 per square metre and an average 15 square metres needed per person, the costs could easily escalate out of control.


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