VVSG survey 2019: Integration of beneficiaries of international protection: housing section
On 22 October 2019, the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) published the results of the survey conducted in the spring of 2019. The results show that especially the search for housing for beneficiaries of international protection is very problematic. The regulations state that, in principle, they must leave the Local Reception Initiative (LOI) within two months. As in the VVSG survey of 2017, half of the respondents do not consider this period to be feasible. For almost 1 in 5, finding housing within this timeframe very exceptionally the case, and only thanks to the possibility to extend the stay in the LOI twice by 1 month.
Local reception initiatives as a gateway
The survey also shows that the LOIs today are mainly responsible for the temporary reception of beneficiaries of international protection, whereby the task that the LOI still has is almost limited to finding accommodation. This is at the expense of other guidance. In this way, the LOI's are reduced to a kind of 'channel' of the people who are allowed to stay here as internationally protected foreigners.
The results also show that recognised refugees mainly want to continue to live in the municipality where they have been accomodated as part of their reception during the procedure for international protection.
How to proceed?
On the basis of the results of the questionnaire, the VVSG asks the federal government:
- for a structural extension of the deadline for leaving the LOI,
- that the LOIs should be used to a greater extent for the reception of applicants with a high recognation rate for obtaining international protection. Small-scale reception as in the LOIs is the best route for the reception and later integration of this target group.
The VVSG asks the Flemish government:
to consult with local authorities in order to tackle these problem areas,
to enter, together with the local authorities, into consultation with the federal government in order to better align the federal reception policy with the Flemish integration and civic integration policy,
to continue, together with the local authorities, to combat discrimination against vulnerable groups on the housing rental market and to free up sufficient policy space to ensure access to decent and affordable rental housing for vulnerable groups.
Read the report in Dutch
Watch the video in Dutch