State did not extend contract with Dzingel Hotel housing refugees

Hotel Dzingel.
Hotel Dzingel. Source: ERR

The government decided not to renew the hotel's contract and the Ukranian refugees who have been staying at the Dzingel hotel since the end of February will have to leave. Vadim Ivanov, the chief of crisis management at the Social Insurance Board (SKA), said that although the move is uncomfortable, the state is not primarily offering comfort, but rather a temporary emergency service.

The Ukrainian flag will be flying in front of the Dzingel Hotel in Tallinn for only a few weeks more, as the state has decided to relocate its residents. People are unaware of where they will be moved.

"We learned about this a week ago and we were offered housing on a boat, but my health prevented me from accepting that offer. Now we are still waiting to see where we will be taken," said Nataša from Mariupol.

The woman, who arrived in Estonia in July wants to remain in Harju County to support her daughter, who fled Mariupol in March and just gave birth. The owner of her daughter's rental housing has let her parents to remain there for one or two weeks, but they will not be able to live there for a longer time. Their quest for an apartment has been fruitless thus far.

"It's not expensive, but not everyone wants to rent to war refugees," Nataša said.

Beginning in August, the Dzingel hotel was notified that the state would not extend its contract with the Ukrainians and that they would be required to leave by September 16.

"Every day we see tears, that's a fact. The refugees who reside in our hotel are mostly very happy with us. They have all found jobs in the same building or nearby. Children with families have school places, nursery places, and there are many people in our hotel who even have pets. If you look around our hotel, you'll notice that it's a terrific place to keep pets. I understand, from a human perspective, that they do not wish to leave this place," Pilary Viin, the head of Dzingel Hotel, said.

The head of the crisis management team of the Estonian Social Insurance Board (SKA), Vadim Ivanov said that this does not imply that the state refuses to house refugees in Dzingel. A new call for tenders will be issued soon, and the hotel could be invited to participate once more.

"Unfortunately, we have to admit that residents may be encountering some difficulties. They have to transfer from one location to another, but this is life. I understand that we all want the best for our families, but it is also important to see that we are not offering a comfort service here; we are providing aid and emergency assistance so that people have a temporary place to stay," Ivanov explained.

While there were approximately 750 refugees staying at the Dzingel hotel in March, there are now approximately 400 of them. On Monday, 30 refugees were scheduled to leave Dzingel with some being taken to the Barons Hotel in the Old Town and others were moved to the former Sõmera nursing home in Saaremaa. 11 of the 20 Ukrainians refused to cross the sea to relocate to another temporal housing provision.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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