The Integration Puzzle What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life
Part 15: Refugees at Our Doorsteps
Günther Hildebrand, 66, is the leading official of Pinnau, a Hamburg suburb.
How will we succeed in putting a roof over the head of every refugee in Germany, Mr. Hildebrand?
Germany has a population of 80 million people and 1 million refugees, meaning there is one refugee for every 80 people. That's exactly the proportion that is to be found right now in the municipality of Pinnau. Here, there are 160 refugees compared to 13,000 residents. In the beginning, the situation was pure chaos. We found them suddenly standing at our doorsteps. We had to rent boarding houses for them just to prevent people from having to sleep on the street. So far, we have succeeded in placing all the refugees in privately rented spaces. Still, the vacancy rate in areas like this located near Hamburg is very low and we are competing on the local housing market in the same way that everyone else is. We are constantly scanning the listings. It's difficult, too, because nobody is legally required to rent to us.
Next week, 17 more people will arrive, and we have also found accommodations for them in the buildings of a former nursery that we are currently remodeling using drywall. You've got to improvise these days.
The county commissioner has recommended using sports gymnasiums, but I'm not doing that because it would run the risk of alienating local residents. We must avoid angering them by using sporting facilities to house the refugees. At the same time, I also don't want a tent city in the parking lot. There has to be another solution.
What I have a problem with is that we have no idea how long this is going to continue for. If I build a road, then I usually know that it will be completed in two years. I know absolutely nothing with the refugees -- it has an open end and it's not possible to do long-term planning.
- Part 1: What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life
- Part 2: Integration 101
- Part 3: Are Refugees More Violent?
- Part 4: Frustration and a Lack of Resources
- Part 5: Teaching Refugees to Swim
- Part 6: 'A Challenge Like No Other'
- Part 7: The Doctor's Advice: Learn German and Be Patient
- Part 8: A 1.5 Billion Burden for the Healthcare System?
- Part 9: Dancing Away Stereotypes and Prejudice
- Part 10: The Midwife's Migraine
- Part 11: Germany Will Need 20,000 New Teachers for Refugees
- Part 12: 'We Need Time'
- Part 13: 'We Will Only Manage This If We Have the Infrastructure'
- Part 14: 'We Will Undergo a Multicultural Transformation'
- Part 15: Refugees at Our Doorsteps
- Part 16: 1.09 Million Refugees Registered in 2015
- Part 17: Policing the Refugee Camps
- Part 18: The Refugee Bill
- Part 19: Integration Will Be a Task for Decades to Come
- Part 20: 'An Open Economy Would Be Unimaginable without Immigration'
- Part 21: BMW Courts Refugees
- Part 22: A Michelin Star and Refugees
- Part 23: 'What Is a Petroleum Technician?'