Also in 2023 many refugees: Kipping warns of a construction program



Also in 2023 many refugees: Kipping warns of a construction program

Katja Kipping (Die Linke), Berlin's Senator for Integration, Labor and Social Affairs.

Katja Kipping (Die Linke), Berlin’s Senator for Integration, Labor and Social Affairs.

Photo: Annette Riedl/dpa/archive picture

Last year, more people sought protection in Berlin than they had in a long time. Senator Kipping sees an urgent need for action.

Berlin. After the large influx of refugees in Berlin in 2022, the situation did not ease in the first three months of this year. On the contrary: “There is a tendency to intensify,” said the outgoing Senator for Social Affairs Katja Kipping (left) of the German Press Agency. “The number of war refugees from Ukraine who need accommodation is increasing.” Berlin recently took in 350 to 600 people per week from the country against which Russia has been waging a war of aggression since February 2022. In addition, there are asylum seekers, between 200 and 350 per week since the beginning of the year.

According to Kipping, in view of this development, Berlin will need another 10,000 places for refugees this year. According to the State Office for Refugee Affairs (LAF), there are currently a good 32,000 in communal accommodation and initial reception. They are largely occupied, the reserves are small. However, suitable real estate for such collective accommodation is becoming increasingly difficult to find; according to the LAF, this also applies to specialist staff for their operation. Refugees had or have to move out of hostels that the Senate had rented in the meantime because tourism is increasing again.

Against this background, Kipping expects the new black-red Senate, which is expected to start work at the end of April, to launch a new construction program for modular accommodation (MUF) in which refugees can live in apartments. “I’m assuming that we need about 1,000 new places per district,” said the senator. “The new Senate and the districts are responsible for this.” The districts would have to designate building areas, the Senate Department for Building and Housing would have to ensure a fair distribution of the new MUFs throughout the city. “There is a great need, nobody can duck.”

According to Kipping, the election campaign was not conducive to the cause. “And I’m appalled that the coalition agreement between the CDU and SPD doesn’t say anything about this.” Kipping warned: “But this is no time for standstill.” The construction of an MUF usually takes about a year.

As announced by Kipping, the operation of the Ukraine arrival center at Terminal C of the former Tegel Airport, along with 3,000 spaces for the temporary accommodation of refugees, is to be extended. This extension until the end of September or the end of the year will probably be decided by the old red-green-red Senate.

In 2022, almost twice as many people applied for asylum in Berlin as in the previous year. The State Office for Refugee Affairs (LAF) counted a total of 14,704 asylum applications. In addition, there were more than 1,000 refugees who came to Berlin through special programs, such as Syrians who were particularly vulnerable. In addition, around 60,000 war refugees from the Ukraine who have a different status from asylum seekers found a new home in Berlin last year. Many initially found private accommodation. All in all, Berlin took in more refugees in 2022 than in 2015/2016, when there was already a large influx.

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