Ukrainian accommodation still a pressing issue in Latvia

Accommodating Ukrainian refugees in Latvia keeps bringing forth new challenges, and residents are invited to assist with housing or with work at the support center, said Rīga mayor Mārtiņš Staķis in an interview with Latvian Television on July 4. 

“The biggest hopes [in refugee accommodation] are on families. But it's not going smoothly right now, very few residents apply [to house refugees],” Staķis said.

The politician recalled forecasts for expected significantly higher heating rates in the coming winter, and taking refugees in would allow not only to help these people but also to receive support from the state that can help pay bills. He said people should be informed about this more extensively. He asked residents to help with the reception of Urkainian people, including work in the support center. 

“We really need help, really, very much,” Staķis said, adding that “maybe with time, the situation will improve, but it is currently tense.” 

Staķis said that while it is difficult for the state to provide significant support for a long time, Latvia will keep doing it as much as possible. 

He also said that the refugees are very interested in finding jobs in Latvia but a large part of these people are mothers with small children who are difficult to place in kindergartens.

Overall, Latvian municipalities still have reserves to accommodate refugees. Often, refugees often don't want to go there, instead opting for the capital. 

Meanwhile, Ilze Rudzīte, advisor to the Latvian Association of Local Governments for Health and Social Affairs, said that housing for refugees in municipalities is difficult because, in general, the rental market is not very plentiful. Some local governments plan to provide additional funding for refugee accommodation from their budgets. The possibility is currently considered by Sigulda and Cēsis.

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