Co-op Hostel in Greece to Help Integrate Hundreds of Refugees

A proposed cooperative hostel in Greece aims to help Syrian refugees successfully integrate into Greek society.

Dubbed Welcommon, which stands for Welcome in Common, the hostel, which is expected to open in June if fundraising efforts are successful, will provide safe accommodations for 120-150 asylum seekers for six months or longer. It will also offer food, clothing and health care, as well as tools and resources and help with social inclusion, including language classes and job training.

Greece has already received 61,000 refugees this year and has made a commitment to house 50,000 refugees by the end of 2016.

A collaboration between the social co-operative Wind of Renewal, the Greek Forum of Refugees, the Greek Forum of Migrants, and ANASA Cultural Centre, Welcommon will be operated cooperatively by Greek nationals and refugees. This co-op model will create job opportunities to further enable integration.

Supporting refugees on a number of levels, Welcommon aims to create cooperative solutions to solve the pressing needs of asylum-seekers, which, according to Welcommon founders, is something that has not been done before.

As Nikos Chrysogelos, president of Wind of Renewal, told Co-operative News, “We are starting by providing housing in apartments, but there is no experience of integrating and developing the entrepreneurship of refugees and migrants in Greece, especially in a co-operative way.”

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Top photo: a young Syrian refugee. By MaximilianV (CC-BY)

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