New quarters for refugees in Vienna

New quarters for refugees in Vienna
The plan should take the strain off Traiskirchen reception centre. Photo: APA/Techt
After a heated debate about new accommodation for refugees in Vienna, Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner (ÖVP) and Vienna mayor Michael Häupl have agreed to use two locations - a former police barracks in the 3rd district and a disused university building in the 9th district.

In an effort to solve the problem of where to house the growing number of refugees arriving in Austria the Federal Real Estate Society (BIG) agreed to provide accommodation for 600 people in the former police barracks it owns in Erdbergstrasse.  

Mitterlehner said he had discussed the plan with Vienna mayor Michael Häupl (SPÖ) who had agreed to the solution. However, Häupl responded on Thursday by saying that he was "furious" as he had asked that the refugees be housed in three different locations in Vienna.

Now a solution has been found whereby 350 refugees will be housed in Erdbergstrasse and 250 will be given accommodation in a former University of Economics building in the 9th district. The buildings should be ready to move into on Monday.

The Interior Ministry told the Austrian Press Agency that this solution should avoid the need to have to find emergency accommodation in places such as gyms.

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said that she was "grateful" to Mitterlehner for acting so quickly, but added that efforts to find more accommodation throughout the rest of Austria must be continued and that military barracks might provide a solution.

Austria's primary refugee reception centre in Traiskirchen, about 20 kilometres south of Vienna, has been hopelessly overcrowded for over a year. On Wednesday 1,553 refugees were resident there.

The majority of refugees are arriving from Syria, fleeing Islamic State (Isis) militants, who have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in recent months.

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