Vienna refugee accommodation ready

Vienna refugee accommodation ready
One of the rooms in Erdbergstrasse. Photo: APA/HELMUT FOHRINGER
One hundred refugees will be moving into temporary accommodation in Vienna’s 3rd district on Monday evening, from the overcrowded refugee reception centre in Traiskirchen.

The majority are families from Syria. They will be able to stay for four months in the former police training barracks in Erdbergstrasse.

The second floor of the building houses a school, but the reaction from students and local residents has been mostly positive.  “I think it’s a good thing, everyone deserves to live in a safe environment,” one student told the Heute newspaper. “My parents were refugees themselves, so I have sympathy – but you have to integrate,” he added.

In the basement of the barracks there is a still a police training facility, complete with shooting range. The FPÖ has criticised the use of the building, saying it presents a security risk but the Interior Ministry has denied this.  

FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache said on Sunday that he believes many refugees turn to criminality but was accused of scaremongering by Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP).

There will be room for up to 350 refugees in Erdberg and a further 250 in a former University of Economics sports facility in the 9th district.

It’s not clear how long it will take to get the rooms ready in the university building, as currently there are not enough showers, and a separate entranceway needs to be built to separate the accommodation from an adjacent nursery.

Some 150 refugees have been housed in police gyms in Eisenstadt, Salzburg, Linz and Villach. On Monday a gym will be opened for refugees in Graz.

The Interior Ministry has urged the provinces to do more to accommodate the growing number of refugees, many of whom are fleeing Islamic State militants in Syria.

Mikl-Leitner said that about 80 percent of Austrian municipalities have not found a single place for a refugee. Currently only Vienna and Lower Austria is meeting the agreed refugee quota.

Traiskirchen, in Lower Austria, has currently reached its limit with 1,600 refugees – and needs to make space for more arrivals who will be applying for asylum seeker status.

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