Organisation launches rental agency for refugees

Summary

Flemish Refugee Action has launched a website that matches landlords with refugee renters, but listings are still few

‘Discrimination and ignorance’

The non-profit Flemish Refugee Action has launched an online project that brings refugees together with anyone prepared to rent them accommodation. The goal, the organisation said, is to make it easier for newcomers to find a home in a market that is often closed to them.

“When asylum-seekers are recognised as refugees, they have two months to find accommodation,” said Charlotte Vandycke of Flemish Refugee Action, “but there is a great deal of discrimination and ignorance among landlords.”

At present, the website Mijn huis jouw thuis (My House Your Home) – in Dutch, English and French – only has two properties advertised: a house in Destelbergen, bordering Ghent, for €850 a month, and a house in Knokke Heist for €650 a month.

The site also contains useful information on deposits, leases, disputes with landlords and sharing options. Information is provided to landlords as well, including on refugee status, renting to someone on welfare and possible avenues of support.

“This will save refugees a lot of time,” Vandycke said. “Instead of digging around in property sites only to find they can’t rent the property, they can come straight to us, where the landlords are open to everyone.”