As of 18 June, 344,800 people from Ukraine had temporary protection visas in the Czech Republic, but support for refugees will change from next month. Photo: KK.

Up To 10,000 Refugees Face Losing Accommodation Following Changes To Support

Some 10,000 refugees could be left without housing from July after the proposed changes to the support, admitted Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (STAN) yesterday, speaking on Czech Television’s Vaclav Moravec’s Questions.

He said scenarios were being prepared to address the situation, and that regional integration centres and non-profit organisations would be involved.

As of 18 June, 344,800 people from Ukraine had temporary protection visas in the Czech Republic. Support for refugees will change from next month. According to a document from the Labour Ministry, reported by Seznam Zpravy, 38,000 to 50,000 people could lose their temporary housing.

“My estimate is that it will be some 10,000 people that we will have to take care of,” Rakusan said.

For refugees who can work, the state will pay for emergency accommodation for five months. After that, they must pay for it themselves or move. Only children, pensioners and the disabled will continue to receive free accommodation. The solidarity allowance for people who have housed newcomers in their homes or in their spare flats will stop from July. Only refugee households with an income below the living wage and housing costs set by the government at CZK 3,000 crowns per month per person in a registered flat and CZK 2,400 crowns elsewhere, will now be eligible for the humanitarian benefit.

According to Rakusan, it will be necessary to help pre-retirement refugees who will struggle to find work. He said that scenarios were being prepared and institutions were ready to address the situation, with regional integration centres and non-profit organisations to get involved.

The minister specified that 1,400 people were staying in state facilities.

According to Daniel Prokop, a member of the government’s National Economic Council (NERV), about 70,000 refugees are staying in emergency accommodation in facilities across the country and 40,000 are in solidarity households.

The Labour Ministry has warned that after the change and the reduction in support, between 38,000 and 50,000 people may lose their accommodation from July, as there are not enough flats on the market and rents are high.

Seznam Zpravy quotes the ministry as acknowledging the risk of massive housing shortages and mass departures back to Ukraine, adding that the impact of the situation might fall on municipalities.

According to lower house deputy speaker Jan Mrackova Vildumetzova (ANO), there may be more than 50,000 people without housing and the problem will fall on towns and villages. She criticised the fact that the government only approved the amounts for the new calculation of the humanitarian benefit this week.

Rakusan noted that the opposition had called for tighter rules.

“I am not criticising the tightening, but the preparation,” Vildumetzova replied.

European Affairs Minister Martin Dvorak (STAN) and Radek Vondracek (ANO), the head of the lower house constitutional-legal committee, clashed in a debate on CNN about the form of the aid. Vondracek said “migration tourism” was not under control, refugees were coming for benefits and would remain in the Czech Republic. Dvorak responded that the opposition was trying to stir up nationalist passions and “attack the lower levels of the human psyche”.