Money From Misery

Winning the Refugee Crisis

ARCHIV - Zwei Flüchtlinge aus Syrien sitzt am 30.03.2015 in der Flüchtlingsunterkunft in Schönebeck (Sachsen-Anhalt) auf einem Bett. Foto: Jens Wolf/dpa (zu dpa «Asylbewerberzahlen im ersten Quartal verdreifacht» vom 03.04.2015) +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Two Syrians in their bedroom in EHC-run refugee housing in Schönebeck in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The refugee crisis is costing Germany much, both in terms of money and political agency, while firms like European Homecare profit. Despite some scandals, the company, under CEO Sascha Korte, has benefited and has also expanded into the ownership of subcontractors that service its refugee homes.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Housing and integration services for refugees have cost German states an estimated €20 billion, or $22 billion, so far.
    • European Homecare is the market leader among refugee housing providers, employing 2,000 people and operating 100 facilities, with potential to house 20,000 refugees; profits grew to €5.3 million in 2014.
    • During the huge influx of refugees, European Homecare appears to have had city councils over a barrel. The Essen council says they paid what they had to, to prevent “mass homelessness”.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

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.

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