EU launches new humanitarian programme for the integration and accommodation of refugees in Greece
The European Commission has announced a new wave of emergency support projects to help refugees in Greece worth €209 million. This includes the launch of the flagship “Emergency Support To Integration & Accommodation” (ESTIA) programme to help refugees and their families rent urban accommodation and provide them with cash assistance. This marks a change from previous humanitarian projects which mainly provided support for accommodation in camps and the provision of direct supplies.
The ESTIA programme has a budget of €151 million and is composed of:
Rented accommodation for up to 30,000 people
A €93.5 million project with UNHCR, under the ESTIA programme, sets up large scale rental project to improve living conditions of refugees by providing 22,000 urban accommodation places. It will increase the number of refugees living in rented apartments in Greece up to 30,000 by the end of 2017.
Cash assistance to empower refugees to meet basic needs
A further €57.6 million project with UNHCR, under the ESTIA programme, will set up a basic social safety net for all asylum seekers and refugees in Greece by providing them with pre-defined monthly cash allocations through a dedicated card. The allocations are consistent across the country, and pegged to the Greek emergency social safety net, as well as being based on the refugees' family size. Using this card, refugees can fulfil their basic needs such as food, medicine and public transportation.
The remaining funding will go to humanitarian NGOs to top up existing projects addressing pressing humanitarian needs in Greece, including shelter, primary health care, psycho-social support, improved hygiene conditions as well as informal education.