Guest contribution from Christopher Eichler
In the past few weeks and months, the district of Schmalkalden-Meiningen has already received more than 1,000 people as refugees from the war zone in Ukraine and – with great support from the population – has made extensive efforts to find suitable housing.
According to the latest reports from the Thuringian State Administration Office, buses carrying Ukrainian refugees are expected to arrive again in the coming weeks.
“After a very short break, we will be out regularly with bus assignments from the initial reception center in Suhl from next week and we are in close contact with the Free State on this matter,” says District Manager, Peggy Graeser.
“The problem is that there are currently very few accommodation options. We urgently need clear and credible commitments from the state to reimburse – for example to prepare a living space”According to Grazer.
In addition, the change in the legal area of responsibility that took effect on 1 June 2022 will lead to significant additional bureaucracy for all parties involved.
Last but not least, new contracts must be concluded between landlords and refugees, since the province can only act as tenants for Ukrainians until they are recognized or obtain a bogus certificate (temporary residence status). After that, it was no longer the Specialized Service for Foreigners and Civil Status, but the Municipal Work Center or the Specialized Service for Social Affairs and Participation.
As a result of this change, the lease agreements already entered into with the area as a tenant must be converted into future lease agreements between the landlord and the respective residents as a permanent residence. ‘A massive effort for all involved’says Greer.
“In general, we are faced with another huge task that we can only master together – that is, only with the support of all cities and communities, our integration network partners and, of course, our citizens.” The region’s crisis management team and immigration authorities continue to operate at full speed.
“We would like to thank the great willingness of our residents to help, who, especially at the beginning of the refugee wave, made many of the private accommodations possible quickly and easily”says Greer.
“After the change in the legal situation and the abolition of expense allowances, we now hope to get more benevolent support from our citizens. We would be happy if as many short-term accommodations as possible were converted into regular rental contracts so that we could continue to provide quick and long-term housing for refugees. From Ukraine who would like to stay longer here in the region.”the district official continued.
The sticking point of the whole thing is and will continue to be the housing provision that must be preserved. “The area has been in active contact with potential owners for weeks in order to acquire enough housing.”District official reports.
However, this is becoming increasingly difficult to implement because there is no longer any place to live at the moment. Due to the general housing condition, there is hardly any free space available.
“We are therefore asking all private landlords, as well as public law landlords, once again to support our crisis management team in acquiring apartments,” So it is the area manager’s call.
Anyone who has a self-contained living space, who wishes to make it available and conclude a rental contract with Ukrainian refugees for the duration of their stay in the district area, is welcome to contact the district office. “We are very grateful for all the meaningful and serious comments”says Greer.
In addition, the staff of the crisis management team is again checking whether the living space that was provided in the past but was initially suspended for various reasons can be rented in the future. So it is not necessary to send back housing that has already been offered.
Property owners who wish to provide accommodation with a lease in the region of Schmalkalden-Meiningen can contact the following email address: email@example.com
The following information must be included in the offer:
• Contact details: Surname, first name, phone/mobile number, email
• Property location with zip code, city and street
• Information on property size, potential availability and duration of availability as well as equipment
(Images attached max 10MB)
• More information such as cost estimates
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the responsible District Office hotline, which can be reached during the District Office’s regular business hours, by phone at 03693485-8790/-8791.