Former office building De Mix on the outskirts of Hoorn-Kersenboogerd is occupied by a total of 112 refugees from Ukraine and refugee status holders. Monoma Netherlands, part of Mosaic World, is not only involved in the property management, but also takes care of the social management of the temporary reception location. 'In Hoorn, it's not just about the bricks. We also make a positive contribution to the coexistence of a wide variety of groups of people,' says commercial manager Masih Nessar.
For many years, De Mix was in use as headquarters of the Hermans Group, owner of Jamin, among others. ZeemanVastgoed bought the ageing office building in 2021 with the intention of creating affordable housing by transformation of it. 'After the outbreak of war in the Ukraine early last year, we were approached by the municipality of Hoorn asking whether our building could be made suitable for the temporary accommodation of refugees. Together with the municipality, we had rooms and facilities built into one of the property's two wings,' explains Nick Witte, development manager at ZeemanVastgoed.
Initially, the municipality leased the premises for the period of one year. Recently, the agreement was extended by six months and, if necessary, there may be another six-month extension until May 2024. Monoma Netherlands fulfils the role of property manager for that period. 'We aim to connect cities, their residents and property owners in such a way that everyone benefits. We do the same in Hoorn. In De Mix, we are happy to contribute to accommodating people who had to leave their homes in a hurry because of the war. Not only that. De Mix is also occupied by a group of people waiting for permanent housing. For all these different people, we try to make their stay as pleasant as possible,' says Nessar.
For social management, Masih Nessar calls on a very special person, his mother Nadia Nessar. She knows better than anyone what it is like to have to leave a familiar home because of war and violence. With her family, she came to the Netherlands as a refugee from Afghanistan. Another remarkable fact. In recent years, she and her husband were active in the textile industry. Through extensive business contacts with companies in Ukraine and elsewhere, she is proficient in the Ukrainian language. 'I try where possible to help people with everyday problems. There are always tensions, things do not always go the way everyone would like. By not ignoring problems, by talking about them in time and helping where possible, they can manage with each other,' says Masih's mother.
'The community feels very involved in the lives of our residents. There are people who will go to the doctor with our residents, or provide language lessons."Nadia Nessar
She praises the help of many volunteers. 'The community feels very involved in the lives of our residents. There are people available to go to the doctor with our residents, for example. There are also volunteers for language lessons; I myself think language development is very important. To people who want to find their new existence in the Netherlands, I always say: language is the key to society. At school. For finding work. You can't do without it.'
Karin de Bruin is refugee coordinator in the municipality of Hoorn. She deals with the realisation of sufficient refugee accommodation places and the ins and outs of temporary facilities. She is pleased with Monoma's efforts. 'They not only manage De Mix, but are also active elsewhere in our municipality. At two locations, there is social management by someone who can speak Ukrainian. And in both places, the coexistence of these different groups is going quite well. Bear in mind: the rooms offer an austere form of accommodation, it is not a hotel. Tensions easily arise between the residents. They form a diverse group. With very different expectations. The refugee status holders would like to settle with us permanently and are awaiting housing after a long procedure. In Hoorn, by the way, this goes well. Most people find a permanent place within a few months. As for refugees, they are very eager to return to their country. Moreover, they form a group that is active in the labour market. This leads to differences between them. Solid social management helps to keep the atmosphere good.'
ZeemanVastgoed hopes to eventually transform the building into affordable housing. 'We see potential for the construction of 50 affordable flats. Initially we had a higher number in mind, but the construction of the building is not really suitable for the realisation of an extra floor. Furthermore, we see opportunities for additional new construction in the immediate vicinity. We hope to conclude a letter of intent with the municipality about our building plans in the near future,' Witte said.
He said the transformation fits in with the municipality's desire to give the business area on the edge of the Kersenboogerd district a more mixed, sustainable character. 'Our premises are close to shops, the train station and other amenities. The historic centre of Hoorn is also relatively nearby. Additional housing construction in the fight against the housing shortage is a logical choice there.' Monoma will remain involved with the property until the transformation, including for the 20 entrepreneurs operating in the other wing of the building.
This article was made in co-operation with Vastgoedjournaal: https://vastgoedjournaal.nl/news/58862/sociaal-beheer-een-aangenaam-verblijf-voor-heel-verschillende-mensen