As hundreds of refugees and other migrants flow into the German city of Hamburg each day, a new law will allow for the seizure of empty commercial buildings to house the newcomers. Some have had to sleep outdoors, an increasingly precarious situation as temperatures drop.

Hamburg officials say the law, which will take effect next week, will be a temporary measure and that property owners will receive compensation. No residential property will be seized.

The BBC reports:

Hamburg has become the first German city to pass a law allowing the seizure of empty commercial properties in order to house migrants.

Hamburg’s new law is described as a temporary, emergency measure. Owners of empty commercial properties will be compensated. The law does not include residential properties.

But the conservative opposition in the city, in the north of Germany, condemned the move.

The authorities in Bremen, a city just west of Hamburg, are considering passing a similar law.

Germany expects to host at least 800,000 asylum seekers this year – about four times the number it had last year.

Many are from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. But the thousands arriving also include asylum seekers from Kosovo, Albania and other Balkan countries, whose claims are usually rejected.

Read more here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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