EMN report: Organising flexible housing in the context of international protection (2023)
The EMN report “Organising flexible housing in the context of international protection” (2023) examines the organisation of the reception settlement system in EU member states and Norway.
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KEY POINTS TO NOTE
- Pressures and challenges in housing applicants of international protection have been a common phenomenon across EMN Member and Observer Countries between 2017 and 2021, with 14 of 25 EMN Member and Observer Countries experiencing these.
- High volatility and unpredictability of migration flows during the period 2017-2021 and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on requirements for reception facilities were key challenges for EMN Member and Observer Countries when providing sufficient housing for asylum applicants.
- More specific challenges included the limited availability of adequate housing when beneficiaries of international protection needed to move from reception facilities to private accommodation and various challenges in opening new reception facilities such as difficulties in finding suitable locations and opposition from local residents to the opening of a facility nearby.
- To analyse migratory inflows and outflows of housing and to estimate the demand for reception, EMN Member and Observer Countries used statistics and data sources, such as data on expected migration flows, housing trends and other internal and external factors.
- To manage rapid changes in demand for housing, EMN Member and Observer Countries have undertaken various measures to provide accommodation for applicants for international protection, including the provision of additional accommodation as buffer capacity or to be used immediately; budget flexibility; application of different modalities of reception conditions in emergency situations (e.g. housing in tents/containers/ gyms); and regional/local distribution of applicants for international protection throughout the territory.
- Whilst most EMN Member and Observer Countries have not had surplus housing capacity in the reporting period, a few countries reported such surpluses. In some cases, the available spare housing was used for other purposes, such as to accommodate homeless persons.
- Measures seen as successful or important as reported by some Member States include: creating extra capacity in existing accommodation centres or adding new accommodation centres; application of different reception modalities; regional allocation and distribution; and multi-level stakeholder cooperation.
- The organisation of outflow to housing and support services for beneficiaries of international protection varies significantly across EMN Member and Observer Countries and is typically linked to integration policies and services offered. Some EMN Member and Observer Countries allow beneficiaries of international protection to continue their stay in a reception centre until suitable accommodation is found. In some EMN Member and Observer Countries, housing is arranged for beneficiaries of international protection, for example by allocating them to a region or municipality. In others, a higher degree of independence is expected, although typically, support services are available.
- The large number of persons fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 resulted in high demand for immediate support, including housing and accommodation. Key measures to ensure adequate housing for beneficiaries of temporary protection included creating additional accommodation centres acting as buffer capacity or to be used immediately; budget flexibility and hosting in private accommodation/host families.