Swiss families facing eviction from private residence as state governments struggle to meet refugee distribution quotas

At least 49 tenants have received eviction notices to make way for an accommodation center for asylum seekers

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke
Residents of this apartment building in the Swiss town of Windisch have been told to pack their belongings and leave to make way for asylum seekers.

A total of 49 tenants are to be evicted from a private residential apartment building in the Swiss town of Windisch to make way for refugees after an agreement was reached between the private owner and state government.

The current residents, many of whom are reported by Swiss newspaper Le Matin to be “socially disadvantaged,” began to receive eviction notices on Feb. 24, informing them of the need to leave their homes after an agreement was reached to transform the residential building into an accommodation center for asylum seekers.

There appears to be a disagreement over the decision between the local government in the town, who had assured residents they would fight to let them keep their homes “by all possible means,” and the state government of Aargau, which has told the residents it is now up to them to find new apartments.

A spokesperson for the Aargau department of health and social affairs, which is involved in the decision, declined to comment on the matter, saying only that it wishes “to discuss (the matter) with the municipality of Windisch.”

Some residents have expressed their distress at receiving the eviction notices, telling local media they face the very real threat of being made homeless.

“My house is being taken away from me. I am sad, and I feel treated unfairly,” 32-year-old Björn Waltert told 20 Minuten. He explained how he has lived in the property for a year and a half, having previously been homeless. “It will now be very difficult for me to find something new. I live on social assistance, and I have a dog,” he added.

“We have lived here for eight years. We feel very good here and have excellent contact with the other residents,” said a mother of three children also affected by the move. “When we received the termination, the children started crying. They are afraid of losing their friends.”

The move follows a state of emergency declared by the Aargau state government due to an influx of asylum seekers, triggering powers to requisition private property in extreme circumstances.

The youth wing of the Swiss People’s Party has launched a petition to oppose those being evicted from their homes, stating that “no one should be put on the street so that asylum seekers can settle here.”

This isn’t the first report of private tenants being evicted to make room for refugees. On Monday, Remix News reported on a 47-year-old carpenter in the Swiss village of Seegräben who had been ordered to leave his home of more than 15 years as the local government had failed to source alternative refugee accommodation and was compelled to meet federal distribution quotas for asylum seekers.

“I am scared. I don’t think that in the next three months I will find another affordable accommodation in the region that can accommodate myself, my children who visit me every two weeks, and my pets,” he told Swiss media.

Furthermore, in neighboring Germany, approximately 40 tenants in a private residence are being threatened with forced relocation to cater to Ukrainian refugees in the town of Lörrach.

“It’s an early death notice,” 78-year-old Klaus Kichling said of his eviction letter, revealing he suffers from serious health issues after suffering a stroke a few years ago.

In the German case, the relevant housing association appears to have promised replacement apartments, although it is unclear where these will be located and what condition they will be in.

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