On Tuesday, just two hours after the center opened, around 11 AM, lines formed at the entrance to the Congress Hall and some people were sent away because it was impossible to help everyone in one day.
The first plan is to help those people who have no relatives or friends to stay with, as well as mothers with small children. Others would have to wait.
The Riga City Council is considering the opening of another such center. Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis said an option would be the former building of Rīga Techincal University in Old Rīga. There would also be a need for centers in other municipalities, Staķis said at a briefing.
The help center acknowledged it wasn't prepared for such a huge influx of people. There are currently 25 employees and a number of volunteers in the center.
“One thing is human resources. The other thing is that these spaces are probably not really suitable for such a lot of people. You see, the volunteer helps to organize the line, but he can't provide those services where a person has to go through the stages and get that support. There needs to be capacity-building and an assessment at which stage we need additional staff,” said Raivis Knoks, director of the center.
In the near future, the City Council also promises to introduce an electronic system so that people know when to come.
"I want to know which day and time to come, so that I don't sit all day waiting. [..] But in general, we greatly appreciate the fact that Latvia accepts us, tries for us. We see all the employees trying to help us as much as possible,” said Oksana, a customer at the center.