Politicians in Enköpings have this week approved a proposal which will allow the local government to reserve all available apartments owned by the municipal property company for migrants.
Swedes on the waiting list for housing in the locality are going to have to to queue for considerably longer than they expected because in the coming months, most vacant apartments owned by Enköpings Housing Rentals (EHB) will be assigned to migrants granted residence permits.
“We are in a tough position because there are very many people who are looking for housing, but we have an obligation to provide housing for newly arrived refugees,” Social Democratic Party councillor Helena Proos said.
Enköping has been searching for accommodation since March this year when a law requiring all municipalities accept and provide housing for migrants came into effect.
The local government has issued appeals asking private homeowners to give up their properties for newcomers, but little interest has been shown so far, the Enköpings Mail reported.
Before the change of rules in Enköpings, EHB was only required to offer the municipality up to five per cent of the apartments that they rent out each year.
Under the new directive, the local government will be able to claim all of them. The region’s mayor, Peter Lund, told the Mail that although the municipality has been given the ability to seize all available EHB apartments for migrants, he doesn’t believe this will be necessary in practice.
Helena Proos noted that in the coming months most will have to be given to migrants, but explained that there will be regular meetings between the municipality and the EHB to discuss who will move into apartments that become vacant.
“If, for example, EHB is releasing a brand new apartment building, then it is not fair for the municipality to claim every single apartment. Something like that could negatively affect integration in Enköpings,” the left wing politician said.
Acknowledging that fast-tracking migrants for apartments means that people who have been stuck on the waiting list for EHB housing are going to have to wait longer as a result, Proos said, adding: “I understand that there are those who will be disappointed.”
Sweden is experiencing chronic housing shortages as a result of the country’s generous asylum and migration policies over the last decade.
Breitbart London reported in July that Sweden will need to build nearly half a million new homes in the next five years just to cope with surging migrant demand. This is equivalent to requiring a whole new city the size of their capital, Stockholm, by 2020.