Germany set to house refugees in hotels long-term

Room with a view: the Holiday Inn chain is included in the hotel group and will contribute properties to the proposed deal. [Phalinn Ooi/Flickr]

Due to a lack of space, Berlin is looking at alternative means of housing refugees, with German media reporting that Angela Merkel’s government is negotiating a multi-year contract worth some €600 million with a hotel chain. EURACTIV Romania reports.

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Berlin Senate is in talks with the Grand City Hotels group and is targeting a solution that will house 10,000 refugees. According to the newspaper’s sources, the offer on the table currently stands at €50 a night, or €18,000 a year, for each refugee.

The proposed deal will be “all inclusive” and include care, integration and orientation in German society. Since the shortage of beds is going to be a long-term problem for the German authorities, they are prepared to spend €600 million on what is hoped will be a long-term solution.

>>Read: Confirmation: Germany welcomed 1 million refugees in 2015

The Group will provide 22 hotels, among which are the Holiday Inn and Wyndham hotel chains. The proposed deal is attractive as it would guarantee occupancy rates above the industry average.

The plan has already come under fire for the secretive way in which it has been negotiated and the fact that it was not put to tender.

It would not be the first time that refugees have been housed in hotels, with the Best Western Hotel President Schöneberg recently being used for that purpose also. In this case, rent in Berlin is around €155,000 a month for 8,100 square metres or around €18 per square metre, which is above the recommended price.

Critics have also pointed out that the figure of 10,000 refugees is roughly the same as Berlin’s homeless population and that taxpayer money will be used to house non-German citizens.

This solution is also being used in France at the moment. According to a report by French radio, it is not yielded satisfying results, as it costs a lot and isolates the refugees. Hotel accommodation for an undetermined period of time is far from an effective answer to the problem as it prevents people from integrating into society and prevents them from starting a new life.

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