Number of Ukrainian refugees in temporary accommodation falls by half

A stroller and children's bike on Tallink's MS Isabelle, which is being used as temporary housing for war refugees from Ukraine.
A stroller and children's bike on Tallink's MS Isabelle, which is being used as temporary housing for war refugees from Ukraine. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The number of Ukrainian refugees staying in temporary accommodation in Estonia has fallen by almost half since March. Many Ukrainians are now receiving rental assistance to help them find longer-term accommodation in Estonia.

"The recent trend has been for about 800 (Ukrainians) to come (to Estonia) per week, and less than 300 of them ask for short-term accommodation," Kert Valdaru, head of the Crisis Committee at the Social Insurance Board, told ERR.

In March, there were approximately 90 short-term accommodation facilities available across Estonia for Ukrainian for war refugees, while today only 33 remain in operation.

It is difficult to say how long these short-term facilities will remain open.

"We continue to have contracts with around 90 hotels. If there are vacancies, we will be able to continue accommodating (refugees there) in the future, " Valdaru explained. "Today, most of the people in the northern region are being accommodated on the Tallink ship 'Isabelle.' Under the current agreement, they can stay there until December 7."

Anu Viltrop, head of support services at the Estonian Refugee Council said, that after the initial major crisis, the situation has now stabilized somewhat.

However, Ukrainians still face difficulties finding long-term accommodation, and the Estonian Refugee Council is working with some complex individual cases, where property owners are reluctant to rent to war refugees.

"In many cases, there is also an attitude of not wanting to rent apartments to men for example, because it is thought that they should go to war  instead, when in fact we don't know why individual people have fled and don't want to return to Ukraine," Viltrop said.

In 51 municipalities, Ukrainians are eligible to apply for a one-off rental subsidy of up to €1,200.

The City of Tallinn began accepting applications for the subsidy on June 10. According to Raimo Saad, head of Tallinn's Social Welfare and Healthcare department, more than 200 applications have been submitted so far, with the average request between €800 and €1,000.

"It is likely that the size of these applications will tend to increase, as rental prices are currently rising (and) certainly the apartments with lower rental costs will (be taken) first, and apartments with higher rental prices will then follow," said Saad.

Saad added that he expected more applications for rental allowances to be made, as not everyone is yet aware of their availability.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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