New refugee reception centres in Helsinki to remain open
Reception centres for asylum seekers on Uudenmaankatu and Kaarlenkatu in the centre of Helsinki are to be allowed to continue their operations.
The city’s Social Services Board is proposing to the City Board that the employees at the centres be given permanent contracts as of February next year.
The reception centres are to remain in operation in their present premises until permanent decisions have been made concerning the scope of the activities, decisions on the use of the premises, and agreements between the state and the city.
The centres were set up in 2009, because there was a need to increase the capacity to receive asylum seekers in the Helsinki region.
The operation was originally planned for two years because the facility at Kyläsaarenkatu were in poor condition, and the search for a new facility was at an early stage.
In 2009 and 2010 officials were to examine whether or not there was a need to move activities of Kyläsaarenkatu to other premises, or if there was a possibility to link them with the units of Uudenmaankatu and Kaarlenkatu. Consequently, the employees for the new units were given fixed-term contracts which conclude at the end of January 2011.
A new draft agreement is to be presented to the Helsinki Social Services Board by the end of the year, along with proposals for the extent of reception activities and proposals for use of premises.
The jobs are to be set up before that to present a break in the activities of the reception centres.
The Uudenmaankatu reception centre is located in the premises of a former hotel, Marttahotelli. Proprietors of adjacent buildings appealed against the move, but the appeals were rejected. The Social Services Board also rejected appeals against the Kaarlenkatu facility, which had been made by a local residents’ association.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Two Helsinki hotels to be converted into refugee reception centres (23.1.2009)
Refugee reception centres turning into long-term concentrations of foreigners (3.5.2010)
Neighbours not panicked by prospect of refugee reception centre (29.1.2010)
Helsinki ready to expand reception facilities for asylum seekers (27.1.2009)