Ukrainian accommodation in Vidzeme exhausted, says municipality

The issue with Ukrainian refugee accommodation is not improving. Not only are the spaces exhausted in Rīga and residents are urged to take in refugees, but municipalities are also out of space, Latvian Radio reported on July 5.

In Vidzeme municipalities, the housing suitable for living is full.

“It's a very big problem because there is no more space. The local governments were already giving up everything that was best, but at this point, all the places are filled,” said Jana Beķere, the Ukrainian refugee coordinator of Limbaži municipality. The deputy Executive Director of Valmiera Municipality Council, Sandis Svarinskis, is also in a similar situation and said the local government housing opportunities are exhausted.

The war goes on. Both Valmiera and Limbaži are concerned that refugees are also housed in school dormitories, but September 1 is approaching.

“Dormitories or service hotels are free in the summer. It would be now, July, August, two months. But in any case, it is necessary to guarantee places that will be empty on September 1, because we also cannot tell the families of Latvia, [..] that there will be no place to sleep. It's one of the problems,” said Svarinskis.

Beķere said that as the war goes on, residents' activity dwindles.

“It was indeed originally that many people applied for and also offered housing. People now realize that just a place where you just stay today, tomorrow, no longer addresses the situation, because these people may be living here for a longer period of time. Many of them have no place to come back to," said Beķere.

Also in Sigulda, the municipality's capacity to accommodate more refugees has been exhausted. The vice-president of Sigulda municipality council, Līga Sausiņa, said that the largest number of refugees had been housed in the former technical school of Mālpils, but there are no more options.

According to Valmiera municipality, in the small town of Seda, which is not far from Valmiera, there are still apartments. Repairs are needed for those. 

"We have enough free apartments in Seda, but they're not the best. Perhaps at the moment, the state could remove barriers so we could repair [apartments] and house these Ukrainians more quickly. There are Ukrainians who have expressed a desire to stay here, they are prepared to pay themselves. So they say, show us where to live. I sent such a letter to the municipal union that it would be very good for the State to allocate funds more specifically in this situation so that the municipality can repair real estate. Not just saying that the local government needs to open up its wallet and repair it. We are already repairing, but the demand is much higher," said Sandis Svarinskis.

 

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