Discussions are taking place with the National Property Agency regarding the long-term use of the vacant building. It is a sensitive dossier and many hurdles will have to be overcome. There is the Limmel Area Network (Buurtnetwerk Limmel), which has already stated in a letter that it is against the temporary housing of students. The neighbourhood has been complaining for years about the trouble caused by students (more than one in three inhabitants in Limmel is a student). The residents want a permanent solution for the building and suggest a “magic mix of accommodation” for starters, people with temporary admission and senior citizens.
It was city council member Alexander Lurvink (Groep Alexander Lurvink) who put the student housing crisis on the agenda of the council meeting. In a motion, he asked the city council to investigate how soon Overmaze could be made suitable for students (and starters, people with temporary admission and senior citizens, so that a mix is created). Because his motion was adapted a number of times last Tuesday and the majority of the council wanted more time to prepare (as well as the end of the meeting being nigh), it was held over until the council meeting on 19 October.
Lurvink is not the only one looking at Overmaze. Maurice Evers, head of Maastricht Housing, also regards the former prison as an ideal “overflow location”, a building where students can be housed when the need is great. During the last University Council meeting, on Wednesday 22 September, Evers emphasised that the building had been mentioned by Maastricht University several times in the past years, but that the city is unresponsive.
After Overmaze was closed as a penitentiary institute, it was used to accommodate refugees for years. Since 1 April, homeless people have been housed there by the Salvation Army, because the COVID-19 regulations could not be adhered to in their building on the Statensingel. As the COVID-19 regulations have been cancelled, the daytime and night-time homeless shelter can be reopened at the Statensingel from November.