Sixteen different disability associations are being evicted as the local government has earmarked their premises in central Piteå to house newly-arrived migrants.
The affected organisations under Sweden’s disability umbrella, which include groups for the elderly and infirm and people with dementia, fear it will be difficult to find new premises that they can both afford and are accessible to the people they help.
Piteå’s Cooperative Body of Organisations of Disabled People (HSO) has rented the large, two storey building, in which 16 groups serve nearly 3,000 members across the city, for 22 years.
The municipality, governed by a Red-Red-Green coalition of Social Democrats, members of the Green Party, and radical Left Party, decided that the premises will be converted into housing for newly-arrived migrants.
Local government have said the disability organisations can move to a disused school, but different groups fear for how the new location might affect them.
Elisabeth Eliasson, from the Swedish Rheumatism Association, said it’s easy for members to meet at its current electric wheelchair-friendly location whereas the move would force many people with the disease to have to use public transport.
Having not been given an idea of what the municipality plans to charge for renting the school, some groups are worried a move could spell the end of their activities altogether.
Carina Lindegren of the Dementia Association said if it’s too expensive, “then our group will cease to continue”.
She condemned the municipality’s decision to house the migrants “at the expense of” HSO, stating it’s the sort of action that “creates problems in a community”.
Municipal Director of Piteå, Ylva Sundkvist, said the disused school will be renovated and that there’s good parking a street away.
“[HSO’s current premises] is the most suited location to become migrant housing as it was previously a retirement home”, she told SVT, explaining that the council had no intention of pitting groups against each other.
Last month, politicians in Enköpings approved a proposal under which locals have been sent to the back of the queue for social housing, with vacant properties earmarked for migrants.
Swedes on the list for housing in the locality are having to wait considerably longer than they expected because, in the coming months, most vacant apartments owned by Enköpings Housing Rentals will be assigned to migrants granted residence permits.
Breitbart London reported in July that Sweden needs to build nearly half a million new homes in the next five years just to cope with surging demand from migrants. The increase is equivalent to the nation of just 9.5 million people building a whole new capital city Stockholm by 2020.