Gov’t spent €200 mil. on prefab flexible homes, but can’t find anywhere to place them

The Cabinet pushed 200 million euros into quickly building over 2,000 prefabricated, flexible homes. The temporary homes are ready, but now the government can’t find places to put them. Agreements with municipalities and housing corporations are taking longer than expected, Financieele Dagblad reported.

The government is looking for places to put over 800 of the 2,000 temporary homes ordered in December, a spokesperson for Housing Minister Hugo de Jonge confirmed to FD. “Dozens of conversations in various forms of concreteness are still ongoing” for at least those 800 homes, the spokesperson said. Many of them are currently kept in warehouses.

The homes ordered by the government often don’t meet the municipalities’ and corporations’ requirements. For example, the government ordered three-story stacked houses. But some cities only want ground-level homes or five-story high construction.

Housing corporations worry about operating risks. Temporary homes can stay in one place for 15 years. That is too short for corporations to break even on their investments. And there’s no guarantee that they can find a second location for the homes when the time comes to move them.

Finding buyers and placements for the prefab homes is turning out “more unruly than hoped,” De Jonge acknowledged.

Last week, the first homes were placed in Delft. Leeuwarden will also take some homes. The Ministry reserved approximately 750 for “concrete projects” in various municipalities. And the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) also reserved a few hundred homes, though it is unclear where the COA will place them.

“We delivered the first 84, and I am happy with that,” Harry van Zandwijk of flexible housing builder Daiwa House told FD. The government ordered 480 homes from the company. “We’ll store the rest until we get the signal to move.”

“This must be a wake-up call,” said Wim Reedijk of the Flexwonen Expertise Center. He called the situation of ready homes in storage “maddening” for people struggling to find a place to stay.

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