10 Stockholm gyms prepared to house refugees on short notice

1:09 min

One-thousand new places are needed every day in order to accommodate refugees, according to the Migration Agency, and as Sweden's municipalities buckle down to figure out where to put up these newcomers, one solution has been to turn evacuation centers, like gyms, into temporary housing. 

In Stockholm, 10 gyms are prepared to be transformed, at three hours notice, into temporary housing, Olof Öhman, director for the sports administration in the city of Stockholm, tells Radio Sweden.

Öhman explains that first, he gets a call from the central crisis management team, and then he, in turn, gets in touch with the head of the sports facility in question and with security personnel. The facility then needs to be prepared so refugees can stay there, alarm settings changed so people can come and go, and people need to be there to receive the new arrivals.

The gyms have been prepared to do this for a month already, but so far, just one of the ten Stockholm gyyms has actually been converted. 

Three weeks ago, a group of unaccompanied child refugees were put up for a night at a gym in central Stockholm at Gärdeskolan. 

Elsewhere, in the municipality of Trelleborg, an ice skating rink was opened last week for forty unaccompanied child refugees.

Öhman says that so far, the sports clubs, which may have to cancel practices or matches on short notice in order for the conversions to happen, are very understanding of what's going on. He says:

"They want to be a part in helping these refugees who are coming to Sweden just now."