Increased refugee flows to Greece, have spurred the Citizen Protection Ministry to announce a tender for a housing program that involves renting out hotels or apartment complexes.
Through the scheme, announced on Thursday, the ministry aims to provide accommodation to dozens of refugees and migrants who have applied for asylum in efforts to decongest the impacted islands, which have again been at the forefront of renewed flows from Turkey.
The government has already launched relocation efforts of asylum-seekers to mainland areas, with plans to transfer at least 3,000 people by the end of the month.
The announced tender foresees a lease period is for six months, allowing the ministry to re-new it for an additional six months.
According to the ministry announcement, the following are eligible:
– Hotel units or a section of these, tourist accommodation facilities, co-owned hotels, furnished rooms or apartments, organized tourist campgrounds with 20-bed capacity, all of which must be authorized to operate as such by the Greek National Tourism Organization,
– Residential building complexes that can accommodate at least 20 persons, located anywhere in Greece apart from the Northern and Southern Aegean regions.
Meanwhile due to the extreme conditions on the islands that have led to clashes and a deadly fire at its biggest migrant camp on Lesvos island, Greece said earlier this week that it aims to deport 10,000 migrants by the end of next year.
“We are really going through a national crisis,” Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Lefteris Economou said while visiting Lesvos’ Moria camp, which currently hosts some 12,000 people – four times its capacity.
There are, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), some 24,000 asylum-seekers stranded on the Greek islands with numbers going up by the day.
Meanwhile, French and German interior ministers are expected to visit Athens, today to meet with Greek officials to discuss the refugee crisis and migration policies.