Norwegians are lining up; volunteering to give shelter to refugees

Norwegians are lining up; volunteering to give shelter to refugees
In a Facebook group an increasing number of Norwegians offer to accommodate refugees.

Hundreds of Norwegians have reported that they would accommodate refugees, and the number is increasing day by day. Now, the creators of the Facebook group plans to make a full list of accommodations being offered.

The Facebook group "Do you have room for an extra in your home" has in a short time gained nearly 3,000 members, and many have offered beds in their private homes.

- It is incredibly good to see so much heart-warmth. We received an offer of more than 400 beds last week, and many more since then, says the group's founder Hanne Heszlein-Lossius (pictured) to Aftenposten.

The medical student, who is also a member of the party Rødt (far left) in Bergen, says that she and the others who are involved in managing the group will help to systematize offers they have received and make a record of how many offers that have received in each municipality.

- We have ourselves been accepted as refugees by the Swedes (during WWII), and we were even boat-refugees and were welcomed to Shetland, (during WWII) so it is clear that we must be able to do the same, she says.

One of those who has agreed to accept refugees, is Gunnar Hunskaar from Sandefjord. In late April, he was in the local newspaper Sandefjords Blad and said he would like to open his home to refugees. A weeping TV2 reporter who reported on the migrant disaster in the Mediterranean did the trick. Now he has started to prepare his apartment.

- I'm working on getting approved an apartment in the basement, and once that is arranged, I have said that I can take in a small family or a couple, or something like that, he says to Aftenposten (But most are men, Mr. Hundskaar).

He says that he has received lots of positive feedback after he went out and offered shelter to refugees, but not all have been positive.

- I have received lots of negative feedback too. I've been called Santa Claus, naive, and I have heard that it is not without problems to let strangers into the house. Some are very afraid to bring in people from other cultures (Muslims), he says.

But the negative feedback has not stopped Gunnar, and he expects to have the basement apartment ready in June / July.

Kai-Morten Terning (FRP) in the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, do not show undivided enthusiasm of all the offers of shelter.

- Basically it's very nice that people want to help, but integration is much more than just housing for the individual. There is school, health care, day care, tuition, job training and so on. Therefore it is important that we stick to the line we have, and that the municipalities themselves decide what kind of capacity they have.

He recommends those who wish to offer available shelter to consult with each municipality.

- Is it okay that someone lend a room or a bed in their apartment, or do you require more?

- It may be acceptable in an intermediate phase, but we must not forget the other services there must be to refugees.

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