Filoxenia Eco-friendly housing project


Eco-friendly housing project

Understanding that the words ‘refugee’ and ‘homeless’ correspond not to identities but to legal categorizations of human beings – people who have lives, skills, dreams, potentials and abilities as well as specific needs – the housing project considered and treated people as individuals with rights and hopes, without grouping them using indelible ‘labels’. This project created a safe and dignified alternative to refugee camps and forced life on the streets, without accommodation, and was an essential first step, giving a prospect of social integration and personal independence in the future instead of being a permanent “home” that causes and increases the passivity of vulnerable people.

Complete program | Implementation period 2017-2018

Living in safety, mutual support and independence

By treating the people – the project was addressed to-as equal partners and by introducing an environmental dimension into all aspects of the design, the scale of the project’s success in terms of independent living was such that after 2018 it ceased to be necessary.

The project was implemented in synergy with the residents of the housing program; it was designed collectively, the participants shared their skills with the group and the approach was holistic (housing, legal support, medical care, social integration, trainings to acquire professional skills, etc.), encouraging participants to contribute their knowledge, time, skills and willingness to learn and work.

The goal of the project was to improve the quality of life of immigrants and homeless people in a way that empowered them to play a central role, identify their needs, pursue their goals and determine their future.

100% of those who stayed in this housing project stated that their lives improved after participating in it and that they ‘felt safe’ in this area.

During their stay, all children living in the eco-friendly housing project went to Greek schools (something unique in terms of the social integration of refugees in Northern Greece), while adults participated in activities organized in collaboration with the local community.

All the building activity and site maintenance works as well as the supply of furniture and paints were carried out with the greatest possible environmental awareness. These projects were undertaken either by the residents (participants) of the project themselves or by local businessmen and artisans boosting, therefore, the neighborhood’s local economy.

The residents of the housing project assumed responsibilities within the framework of the project and were given additional training in environmental issues of energy, water conservation, and individual wastewater management that they could apply to the apartments in which they lived.

This project was implemented in collaboration with 7 organizations in order to offer to all participants comprehensive services while to secure full access for all of them:

– Doctors of the World were on site once a week offering medical services and vaccinations for children.

-Nurture Project International offered pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and motherhood seminars.

-The Mobile Info Team provided bi-weekly asylum advisory services and monitored all cases, providing vital information.

-IsraeAid provided psycho-social support and development programs for children. They created a kindergarten for the children of the residents of the housing project which was operated by the residents themselves.

-Save the Children provided English, Greek and Maths lessons for people aged up to 24, organized activities for children aged 3 and over and created a mother-child group that met once a week and was also responsible for monitoring the children and youth affairs.

-Care International was responsible for the implementation of the cash card program for all residents in the project.

-Intersos offered funding in the initial stages of the development of the social space and renewed funding for social activities, art workshops and day trips, with the aim of empowering and encouraging individuals and better integrating them into Greek society.

All residents were given debit cards during their stay – allowing each family to decide for themselves what to buy, cook, eat and enjoy – all residents used the common area (participatively managed by the local community) .