HOUSING INITIATIVES, GREECE
In 2016 alone, over 171,9092 people arrived to Greece seeking asylum. Refugees are amongst the world’s most vulnerable people - today, tens of thousands of people are trapped in squalid camps where they are subjected to daily humiliation. 62,2813 refugees remain living throughout Greece (UNHCR, December 2016), many of which are living in unacceptable conditions in warehouses and tented camps where temperatures often fall below freezing. The idea of personal space is nonexistent, with people literally living on top of each other in tents, without any idea of when they will be free to live a normal life. The most basic of health services are limited and hard to come by and despite their 'refugee' status, no one feels safe.
No matter what country they’ve fled, men women and children seeking asylum need immediate access to warm, dry shelter that protects them from danger.
The RefuAid team have spent extensive time working with refugee communities living in camps, and we know that housing is consistently one of the most requested opportunities. Temporary accommodation and protracted refugee camps are not sustainable, often segregating many refugees and asylum seekers from the host society and increasing their dependency on services and charitable organisations. RefuAid are addressing this severe need by supporting sustainable local partners providing housing and with it a resemblance of normality and safety to refugees in Greece. The projects we support house people for less than it costs to run a refugee camp, proving that there is another way.
Safe and legal housing rescues individuals from the appalling conditions described above to a place to call home that is warm and private, with a sense of community. We are also addressing the need for housing for the Greek homeless population by aiming to provide a percentage of available housing to destitute members of the local community.
If resources and funding are invested in supporting projects aimed at providing refugees with the opportunity to live independently within the host community, self-reliance will follow. This approach will also encourage host states to notice the economic and social benefits of refugee integration into society.
The RefuAid team have developed a two-pronged approach to ensure that self-reliance is the outcome of our housing initiative:
· One approach assesses the need for mid-term accommodation for refugees in Greece awaiting relocation and/or reunification.
· The other approach focuses on long-term housing solutions that will provide support that is phased out over a 5-year period to guarantee self-reliance whilst making every effort to support the host community.
By working with local implementing partners to expand and sustain housing initiatives we are ensuring refugees have access to safe and legal housing, as well as supporting interaction between refugees and their host community.