Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga has called for an emergency plan to cover accommodation for to 50,000 asylum seekers.
She says it had been a mistake to reduce the capacity for asylum seeker housing over the past few years as part of spending cuts.
In an interview with the Berner Zeitung, Sommaruga said the federal authorities now lacked the necessary reserve accommodation.
She said that presently the cantonal authorities provided enough homes to cover the around 20,000 asylum requests annually.
However, plans by the authorities to set up temporary asylum centres have been meeting strong resistance in some regions of the country.
There were also reports of a lack of housing for asylum seekers over the Christmas period.
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