Refugees will be moving into two of the four buildings that Wageningen University rents on the site of the Maurits barracks in Ede. The university has moved the international students who were living there to rooms in Wageningen and Bennekom. Ede will use the vacated buildings for emergency accommodation for refugees until the end of the year.
The municipality of Ede had initially asked the university for all four of the buildings on the site of the former barracks. The university rents the buildings for housing international students. The university’s Student Services Centre had therefore been busy since Friday 18 September looking for alternative accommodation for the 60 or so residents. Removal vans had been ordered to help residents move their things out of their rooms at the barracks and into their new homes. The university had said it would cover all costs. Jos van Kroonenburg at the Student Services Centre was confident that he would be able to fi nd somewhere for all the students within two weeks.
On Tuesday afternoon, Van Kroonenburg got a phone call from his contact at Ede municipality. After reconsidering the matter, they now realized two buildings would be enough. ‘That is 70 rooms and most have two beds. The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers tells us that’s enough for emergency accommodation,’ says Henk Faas, the municipality’s press offi cer. ‘There is a much greater need for Asylum Seekers’ Centres, but these buildings are explicitly intended as emergency housing. People will only spend a couple of days there at most.’
When Van Kroonenburg got that phone call from the municipality, two buildings had already been vacated. ‘Building 86 was already empty anyway and there were only four people left in Building 85. We were only using those two buildings to absorb peaks,’ says Van Kroonenburg. The 60 students in Buildings 9 and 10, who had only just learnt that their stay on the site of the former barracks was about to come to an abrupt end, now suddenly had to be told that they could stay put after all, for now. ‘The students who had already got an offer of alternative accommodation can still take up that offer,’ said Van Kroonenburg straight away. ‘But we will stop looking for new accommodation for the other students who had not yet had an offer, for now.’ For now, because all of the students have to vacate the barracks by the end of November as that is when the rental contract expires. But that was known anyway.
In the meanwhile, Wageningen student accommodation provider Idealis is also talking to the municipality and other organizations about what it can do for the refugees. At present, only refugees who are also students are eligible for a room through Idealis. The accommodation provider has no rooms for refugees who are not studying, says spokesperson Corina van Dijk. ‘But we are talking to the municipality and other parties to see what the options are for housing other refugees too,’ says Van Dijk.
One of the students who was all set to move out was Marta Portell, a Biotechnology student from Spain. She has been offered a room in Hoevestein. Of course the news that she would have to move out came as a surprise but she could appreciate that the barracks buildings should be used as emergency housing for refugees. That was basically the attitude of all the residents that Resource spoke to. In the end Marta decided to stay in Ede a little longer, so she can unpack her suitcase again now.
Photo's: Edwin van Laar