There’s a children’s playroom at the refugee village in Karnap, a suburb of the western German city of Essen. The space is sparsely decorated: Some carpet, some Ikea shelves stacked with picture books and a rubber dinosaur. But as Essen city council member Michael Schwamborn remarked, it’s better than nothing.
“Before, the TV was the only kind of childcare here,” he said. European Homecare, or EHC, the Essen-based company that provides the accommodations, saves money where it can, Mr. Schwamborn notes wryly.
Almost 700 people have called this tent city home. They’ve lived in close quarters, using bathrooms inside modified shipping containers. The complex is fenced in, with security keeping watch around the clock.
EHC operates ten of these facilities across the city, with space for 4,000 people. As the company grows, its chief executive Sascha Korte has set up a series of separate firms to provide services to European Homecare. It may be controversial in political circles but the refugee crisis has been a boon for Korte’s business.