Housing for asylum seekers in Greece

Last update: August 2016

What is the overall situation for housing and accommodation on the mainland?

There are three different categories of housing facilities for refugees in Greece: 1. reception places (mainly for unaccompanied minors and a few families); 2. the transit camps with usually very difficult living conditions; 3. Squats and solidarity spaces that offer accommodation without any involvement of government and authorities.

1. Reception places: As of July 8, 2016 there are 1,138 reception places in open camps for asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors all over Greece. UNHCR is constantly building up new places mainly for relocation applicants and vulnerable persons, which can be also in hotels or flats. The plan is to create 20,000 new places. As of July 11, 7,918 places already exist but they are also already filled. You can apply for housing when you register your asylum / relocation / family reunification claim at the Asylum Service or in vulnerable cases also before and with the help of NGOs.

2. Transit camps: Newcomers who did not apply for asylum and who don’t belong to vulnerable groups, as well as most others too, are hosted in the currently existing 45 transit camps with a total of approximately 44,500 Places (as of July 21st). If the camps have places they might accept you directly when appearing before their doors. In most cases they are already full though.

3. Squats and places of solidarity: Open borders, open houses! During the last months, a couple of squats have been opened by solidarity people welcoming and housing 15-400 refugees each, depending on capacities. Almost 1,000 refugees are hosted in this way by the civil society and without any funding. In Athens, most of the squats are located in Exarhia area, besides the biggest squat City Plaza. As places are limited and theses houses usually full; many times priority is given to very vulnerable persons like families. All the squats are run solely by donations with the collective help of activists and refugees staying there.  

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