Approximately 100,000 asylum seekers in Greece currently have no form of supported accommodation and struggle to access housing, medical care, and cover their basic needs. In December 2020, we launched the Streetwork Project in Athens to provide dignified emergency relief to vulnerable individuals and families and strengthen a city-wide support network for people experiencing homelessness. We act as the "missing link" between refugees and services.
Since 2020, Greece has cut back on housing support and cash assistance to refugees and asylum seekers, leaving them increasingly vulnerable to homelessness. At the same, in an effort to "decongest" the islands, they have transported refugees to Athens. With shelters overcapacity, thousands of people, including many families with children, are living on the streets or under precarious conditions. The increasingly harsh policies are meant to deter people from seeking asylum in Greece.
Through our Streetwork Project, we distribute food, baby diapers, hygiene kits, warm sleeping bags, phone cards with internet, and other vital supplies to hundreds of families every month. We also run emergency multilingual helplines and a drop-in space where people in need can meet with a social worker and get assistance accessing medical care, housing, legal support, and more. So far we have supported more than 2,250 people.
The project provides a lifeline to individuals and families without access to public services or the job market while their asylum claims are pending. Even recognised refugees now only have 30 days (down from 6 months) to secure a job and find housing before losing support. Our outreach to people on the streets connects some of the most vulnerable to services that prevent them from falling through the cracks.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).