Apartments in Prague. Photo credit: KB/BD.

Many Ukrainian Refugees Will Struggle To Pay Rent After Changes To Aid System, Say NGOs

In a joint press release, the NGOs highlight the upcoming reduction of support and the low earnings of those arriving. Photo credit: KB / BD.

Prague, May 29 (CTK) – Many refugees from Ukraine will not have enough money for housing after the system of state aid changes in July, and may end up living in undignified conditions or being forced to return to their war-torn homeland, said a group of NGOs working with migrants in the Czech Republic yesterday.

In a joint press release, the NGOs highlight the upcoming reduction of support and the low earnings of those arriving.

As of July, the solidarity allowance will stop being paid to people who accommodate refugees for free. Depending on the number of people and the type of housing, they can now receive between CZK 3,000 and CZK 15,000 per month.

Furthermore, the state will pay for emergency accommodation in facilities for five months. After that, refugees will have to either pay for it themselves or move. This does not apply to the elderly, disabled, children, students, pregnant women, or those caring for young children or disabled relatives.

From July onwards, refugees will pay for their housing mainly from their earnings and possibly from humanitarian aid, which will be based on the minimum subsistence level of CZK 3,000 per person in a flat registered by the owner in the housing register, and CZK 2,400 in other types of accommodation. For each applicant, the humanitarian aid is calculated based on their income and savings.

According to the group consisting of 18 NGOs, including Caritas CR, ADRA, the Association for Integration and Migration and the Organisation for Refugee Assistance, most new arrivals will not be able to afford the market rent.

“From July 1, support for accommodation for Ukrainian families will be significantly reduced… Many refugees will have to find new housing because of the new rules. People will move from hostels, hotels, and often from solidarity households,” the consortium said.

They point out that most refugees work in low-skilled jobs and their wages are low. PAQ Research surveys have also backed this up.

“The changes in the relevant law towards housing providers and refugees, and their late communication, places thousands of people at risk of living in undignified conditions and homelessness, or being forced to return to a country where war continues,” said Andrea Krchova, director of the group of NGOs.

According to the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry, the support needs to be more specifically targeted, and new arrivals who can work need to be more involved in covering their living costs. In April, the labour authorities spent CZK 1.2 billion on humanitarian and solidarity benefits.

Based on the new regulation, the state would stop paying for emergency accommodation for about 40,000 people, saving CZK 420 million a month. About CZK 920 million a month would be needed for a new humanitarian benefit with a housing allowance.

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