LKAB preparing aid to Ukrainians
The war in Ukraine has caused people in the country to flee and the expectation is that many will also come to Sweden. LKAB is looking into the possibility of helping with housing and extra support for local associations.
LKAB is a major player in the housing market in North Sweden. There is currently a housing shortage in Kiruna and Gällivare, mainly because many people are looking for jobs and therefore housing in the municipalities. To date, LKAB has built as many new homes as it has decommissioned existing ones. However, there is not a large surplus for refugees.
“We are making an inventory right now to see what vacant premises could possibly be used, and are in dialogue with the municipalities on how we can help. Also, we are emptying properties in both Kiruna and Malmberget as part of the urban transformations, but of course this is because they need to be decommissioned due to the impact of the mine. Some of them can be used in the short term, but they are not long-term housing solutions,” says Stefan Hämäläinen, director of urban transformation.”
LKAB has decided not to charge the municipalities or the Swedish Migration Board for the decommissioning properties that may be made available for refugee accommodation for various periods of time.
The situation in Kiruna is currently more strained than in Gällivare in terms of available properties. One of the buildings to be emptied for decommissioning in central Kiruna is Hotel Ferrum. Even though it is not ideal for normal accommodation, it could offer temporary possibilities as suggested to the municipality.
“We also decided that we want to support associations that want to help the people who come here. Voluntaries are extremely important in this type of social crisis, and do a great job, not least in activating young people. That is why we have set aside a sum of money from which non-profits can apply for different types of activities. Primarily, we are targeting those NGO:s we already sponsor, and we can promise a fast and efficient processing. The idea is to be able to contribute primarily to activities for children and young people from Ukraine,” says Niklas Johansson, Director of Communications and Climate at LKAB.