State searching for additional accomodation for refugees

Ukrainian war refugees arriving in Tallinn in March 2022.
Ukrainian war refugees arriving in Tallinn in March 2022. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Long-term accommodation for Ukrainian refugees is being mapped by the government and agencies as more people will leave temporary accommodation, such as hotels, in the coming weeks.

There are more than 6,500 Ukrainian refugees living in temporary accommodation as of Thursday and housing people long-term is proving to be a challenge.

Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo (Reform) said the state does currently not have enough accommodation. Some refugees also turndown the accommodation offered by the government in favor of renting privately.

Next week a page on the Kinnisvara24 real estate website will be opened specially to help refugees find places to live.  

The Social Insurance Board is also preparing a tender for short-term and long-term accommodation which is likely to be announced next week. 

Ministry of Social Affairs Undersecretary Hanna Vseviov told ERR: "It doesn't matter if these accommodation spaces are offered on land or at sea, so ships are not excluded if they meet our desired conditions. But a ship is definitely short-term accommodation."

Housing needs to be of good quality and it needs to be kept in mind that not all refugees will be able to support themselves immediately, she said.

Minister Riisalo said property owned by the state is already being brought up to scratch so it can be put to good use. "There is an urgent need for a little over a million euros for the initial adjustments," she said.

It is not yet known how much money will be allocated for refugee accommodation in the supplementary budget which is due to be announced on Thursday.

"I don't want to speculate, because these numbers will be clarified. If I say one number here, it may not be the same next week, but these are quite large sums," said Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center).

Refugees in government-found accommodation

Ukrainian war refugees arriving in Tallinn in March 2022. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

As of March 30, data from the PPA shows 6,522 Ukrainian war refugees needed help wth accommodation in Estonia. Of them 2,479 are children.

The majority of people are seeking help in the northern region, followed by the western region.

The number of people accommodated in each region is shown below.

Northern region (Harju county) – 4,189 people, of them 1,533 children

Southern region (Võru, Põlva, Tartu, Jõgeva, Valga and Viljandi county ) – 891 people, of them 351 children

Eastern region (Ida-Viru and Lääne-Viru county) – 362 people, of them 152 children

Western region (Pärnu, Saare, Hiiu, Lääne, Järva and Rapla county) – 1,080 people, of them 443 children

The majority of arrivals are staying with friends or family. So far, 25,720 refugees have come to Estonia with the intention of staying.

This is compared with more than 36,000 registered in Lithuania, over 6,300 in Latvia and more than 16,000 in Finland.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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