Bonn · The city is now setting up the third gymnasium at the Duisdorf music school as emergency accommodation for refugees from Ukraine and is moving the first port of call to Buschdorf. Urgently needed bedsteads and mattresses have become tremendously expensive, Bonn's head of social affairs reports.
The initial teething problems have been solved. "It's going well", is how Bonn's head of social affairs, Carolin Krause, on Thursday evening described to the city council the current situation regarding Ukrainian refugees arriving in Bonn. Their number is growing and growing; on Thursday more than 600 had already registered, Krause reported. This does not include the many who have found accommodation with relatives and friends. Two-thirds of the refugees are children, says Krause, the others mainly women. Many have to make do with emergency accommodation for the time being, including three gymnasiums. But the bed frames and mattresses that have to be purchased for the shelters are in short supply and almost twice as expensive as they were a while ago.
"The prices being asked for right now are mad," complained the councillor. A spokesperson for the mattress industry association confirmed the jump in prices to the GA. "First Coronavirus and now the war in Ukraine have interrupted supply chains." In addition, there is a shortage of raw materials and a considerable increase in demand, especially for cold foam mattresses, which are particularly popular in Germany, she said.
Family provides 2500 square metres of office space
Krause was pleased about the offer of a Bonn family, who wished to remain anonymous, to provide the City of Bonn with an office building of about 2,500 square metres in Buschdorf on Ernst-Robert-Curtius-Straße (the GA reported). Rent and heating costs will be free for six months. Preparations to get the building set up as an initial contact point are underway. The previous provisional location at the Windeckbunker in the city centre will then be abandoned. "As soon as the first contact point can move, the city administration will inform the public," said vice city spokesperson Marc Hoffmann in response to a GA inquiry on Friday. For Krause, the new location for the first port of call has the advantage that the many Ukrainian refugees who arrive in Bonn with their own cars can also park their vehicles there more easily. As already reported, the city will soon have additional places to accommodate refugees in the former König-Fahd-Akademie in Bad Godesberg, which the city recently acquired, as well as in the former Chamber of Agriculture in Roleber, where 400 people could be accommodated.
Following on from the two vocational college gymnasiums on Kölnstraße, the administration is now also preparing the sports hall at the music school in Duisdorf, where 50 people will find temporary shelter, Krause said. According to the administration, as of Friday, 18 March, a total of 217 refugees are now housed in municipal accommodation, 77 privately and 366 in hotels. More than 800 refugees have already applied for social benefits. Krause also reports that children are now gradually being admitted to schools and day-care centres. They are also thinking about what holiday activities can be organised for the refugee children. She took the opportunity to thank the administrative staff, "who are currently working around the clock to accommodate and care for the refugees. "I am thrilled by the commitment of all colleagues in the city administration and partners. This is great, especially after these many years in a state of emergency."
Administration gets free hand in refugee assistance
Social Affairs Officer Krause has asked the city council to give her permission to act in all matters concerning refugees. She pointed out that other municipalities were also currently asking their councils for this. The administration needs a free hand to be able to act quickly - to pay out social benefits unbureaucratically, to enter into contracts with landlords and hoteliers and to commission independent agencies with social tasks. She stressed that the council would nevertheless be involved in important decisions - such as the purchase of real estate. This appeased the CDU, which was somewhat sceptical at this point. Afterwards, there was broad support from the parliamentary groups. "This is the right thing to do," said Annette Standop, spokesperson for the Green Party. "It makes it visible that the federal and state governments are putting the municipalities in charge." The Council followed the proposal unanimously, with Bürger Bund abstaining.
Originaltext: Andreas Baumann and Lisa Inhoffen
Translation: Jean Lennox