HOUSING: AN IMPORTANT, BUT DIFFICULT STEP TOWARDS INDEPENDENCE
Refugees who have received a positive decision on their application for international protection (asylum) only have two months to leave their reception center, find housing, and navigate the administrative process that gives them access to social rights in Belgium. Often, they are confronted with numerous obstacles, such as trouble accessing private housing due to discrimination, the language barrier, not knowing how the process or institutions works, etc.
This transition is even more difficult for refugees who are “vulnerable” (people with disabilities, serious medical ailments, psychosocial difficulties, illiteracy, etc.) because of the additional obstacles they have to overcome.
Caritas wishes to maximize the chances of success of the transition to independence through this project supported by Fedasil, as a part of their transition program for people no longer eligible for reception. Refugees with vulnerabilities benefit from adapted individual housing and social support.
This support is a part of the activities of the Integration team, which has seven years of experience supporting vulnerable refugees. The people that Caritas supports are selected based on their level of vulnerability.
MORE THAN A ROOF: SUPPORT AND CARE FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE
An expert team of counselors and intercultural staff is ready to welcome people with specific vulnerabilities into individual housing. They respond to requests for help and offer support in planning for a future in Belgium. “From the first day, we were welcomed with open arms in Mechelen. Here, our medical follow-up was quick. The inclusion process was closely supported. Also, the team helped us make appointments and followed the processes of our case. We are very grateful for this,” declares Ararat and Liana, two former residents of the transition housing managed by Caritas.
Concretely, this project aims to maximize the chances of a successful transition to living independently by offering:
- Accommodation in individual housing in order to allow for the independent management of one’s housing, budget, and daily life. These accommodations are offered in three major cities of the country: Brussels, Antwerp, and Liège. The accommodation period is transitional and is no longer than six months.
- Adapted social support aimed at addressing specific needs, reinforcing skills, knowledge, and social capital, as well as building a professional and community network around the individual.
- Support with searching for permanent housing in the private market and for understanding their social rights.