The conspicuous blue building, next to the busy motorway 67 in the village of Weitendorf, is now home to two Serbian Roma families, including seven children. A sign outside reads ‘Studio 6’ (six, or sechs in German, sounds like sex).
“The last lady left the place on Friday,” the building’s owner said (she did not want to be named). She said the building will be able to accommodate up to 50 people “in new and luxuriously furnished apartments,” and that she plans to renovate the rooms.
But the two families are not happy and have already threatened to go on hunger strike. “It stinks, the bed linen is dirty, and the older children have to share a bed. You can’t bring children to live in a brothel,” one refugee complained to the Kleine Zeitung paper.
“We can’t leave these people on the streets,” the owner said. She has to provide the families with three meals a day and receives €19 per day, per asylum seeker, from the government.
If the building were to house 50 people she would be taking in around €28,500 a month.
More refugees are expected to arrive this week – to the annoyance of mayor Franz Plasser (ÖVP). He said that he had wanted to allow only three refugee families to live in the 1,500 strong community but had only discovered on Wednesday that 50 people were expected to arrive.
“This can’t be – how will it work? What are people expected to do in this former brothel?” he said.
He added that it would be much harder for 50 people to become properly integrated into the community and that as the accommodation was directly on a busy road it was not suitable for families.
He feels that the owner and politicians have gone over his head, and should have consulted him.