Refugee housing program extended

Refugee housing program extended

A program to secure housing for asylum seekers with a year’s prepaid rent is set to extend to municipalities across the country in the effort to provide dignified living conditions to migrants and refugees.

The program, which is being managed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), aims to house 22,000 people in apartments by the end of the year, and is being financed with 93.5 million euros in European funds. According to reports, the program is set to continue in 2018 and, possibly, 2019.

So far, participants in the initiative include the municipalities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Livadia (central Greece), Crete and 14 nongovernmental organizations. However, the effort received a further boost Tuesday with the inclusion of the Municipality of Nea Philadelphia-Halkidona, while local authorities in Trikala, Kariditsa and Larissa are set to get on board soon.

Owners who want to rent their apartment are being urged to submit an application to their municipality. Apartments must have a size ranging between 60 and 120 square meters. Any costs for alterations and repairs will be covered by the program.

According to Despina Spanoudi of the Philadelphia Municipality, “the highest rent is 400 euros,” while the highest number of occupants in one apartment is six.

According to the UNHCR’s Stella Nanou, since the program began in 2016, more than 30,000 people have been helped. Many of them have already moved to other EU countries as part of the resettlement program.

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