Nijmegen parking garage is a homeless hotel: beds made in a technical room.
The parking garage under the Basic Fit gym on Tweede Walstraat in Nijmegen is used by homeless people to sleep, use alcohol and drugs and poop. Residents of the apartment complex above that use the garage are annoyed by the unwanted wanderer hotel and feel unsafe. On Tuesday, two uninvited residents were caught and the garage sent out by the municipality’s and police officers with their whole property. The two gliders had made it easy for themselves. In a technical room, no larger than one by two meters, lay cushions, blankets, bottles of liquor and beer cans. The loft was used by a man and a woman. According to a resident of the complex who was at the eviction, it was about Poland. It seems that they have been using the space for a long time, because all kinds of personal items were stored, such as bags and shoes. In addition to the loft there was a great smell of excrement and urine. Dora Raijmakers’ car (84) is right next to the technical room and the shit and pee place. “I haven’t just been walking to the parking garage lately,” she says.
She is afraid of finding someone and that fear is not unjustified. In the past few months she has already driven people away twice who do not belong in the apartment complex. One man was running joints at her door. When she spoke to him, he said he was visiting another resident of the complex, but the resident did not know the man. “I’m really scared,” she says. Her husband died not long ago and since then she lives alone in the apartment. She fears that somebody will be in her house one day. She doesn’t tell her children what’s going on. “I would not dare to do that. I am ashamed.”
The complex has around 15 households. Among the residents are the elderly, but also families with young children. “They can find anything”, says a resident who wants to remain anonymous. “Beer cans, butts, but also needles. I have disposable gloves in my car that I can use to clean up the mess in the parking garage.” Several times a month residents see trash from people who have hung in the garage or elsewhere in the complex. That sleep is also happening since about four months. It is a mystery to the residents how the intruders enter. The door to the parking garage is forced and can be pushed open with a big beech, but a drop is needed to enter the building at all.
A neighbor has seen that homeless people go inside with a pass. This fits in with the camera images that show that two men with a sports bag walk in as if they have a key. A third man who is also trying to slip in, is just too late. Every now and then, intruders are caught. “Then they pretend they are visiting or they say they are renting something here.” The uninvited guests scare multiple residents. The anonymous resident knows that some people park their cars elsewhere in order not to have to go to the parking garage. “It’s too crazy for words. You are no longer safe in your own home.”