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In Greece, there are the below types of accommodation according to your status:

  • Camps for asylum seekers on the islands.
  • In camps or ESTIA accommodation apartments for asylum seekers who reside on the mainland. You cannot choose the accommodation type. Official authorities choose according to the capacity of each type. ESTIA accommodation scheme is only available on the mainland.
  • Apartments with financial support for recognized refugees via HELIOS Program.

For more information regarding Ukrainian nationals please check "Accommodation for Ukrainians"

 

Camps

There are camps in mainland Greece and on its islands. Volunteer organizations have made this map of all camps in Greece. Refugee.Info can’t verify that it is up to date.

At camps, you can usually find:

  • Health care
  • Social services
  • Education activities
  • Child protection programs
  • Women’s programs
  • Hygiene programs
  • Translation services
  • Legal advice services

Due to COVID-19 and new regulations introduced, some camps in Greece are implementing entry-exit restrictions.

You can get a place in a camp only through a Reception and Identification Center referral, and you must accept the place you get, or you will lose access to accommodation.

You cannot:

  • Choose which camp you go to
  • Move from one camp to another on your own
  • Move from the islands to the mainland on your own
  • Get a place in a camp by appearing there on your own
  • Stay in a camp without having an official place there (or you will likely get kicked out to make room for others)

If you are moving from the islands to the mainland, you must go on an official UNHCR transfer and appear at the camp you are assigned. Otherwise, you lose your access to accommodation.

 

HELIOS accommodation scheme

The program refers ONLY to beneficiaries of international protection recognized after 01/01/2018.

To enroll in the HELIOS project, beneficiaries must meet ALL the following criteria: - Be a beneficiary of international protection (recognized refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection). - Have been recognized as a beneficiary of international protection after 01/01/2018. - Be officially registered and reside in an Open Accommodation Center, Reception and Identification Center (RIC), a hotel of the IOM FILOXENIA project or in an apartment of the ESTIA program at the moment of the notification of the decision granting international protection.

If you get a place in the HELIOS accommodation scheme, you will receive information, assistance and financial support aiming to make you’re your family independent.

Specifically, HELIOS will support you in finding an apartment and entering into a lease agreement in their name directly with the apartment owner. This includes support in: - The procedures and requirements for renting an apartment in Greece - Interpretation during apartment visits or translation of housing-related documents - Facilitation of contacts with apartment owners interested in renting their apartment - Matching with other beneficiaries interested in sharing an apartment - Transportation of beneficiaries and their belongings when moving to the newly leased apartment.

The duration of each lease is a matter of agreement between the beneficiary and the apartment owner (e.g. the lease agreement can have a duration of one, two or three years or any duration agreed between you and the owner of the apartment). However, only lease agreements with more than 6 months will be accepted to receive support from the HELIOS program.

In addition, the duration of the lease agreement should cover all the periods for which you are entitled to receive HELIOS rental subsidies. You are strongly encouraged to consider cohabitation to share the cost of the rent and all related expenses with friends or relatives. Note that if you have received or are receiving rental subsidies from other projects, you cannot receive rental subsidies from HELIOS.

Also, remember that as soon as you receive the first disbursement of the HELIOS rental subsidies, you immediately have to leave your accommodation place and move to your newly-leased apartment.

Find more information about the process in English, French, Arabic and Turkish here.

You can also contact IOM at the following WhatsApp numbers from 9 am-3 pm Monday to Friday:

WHATSAPP NUMBER LANGUAGES

  • +30 6909868980 English-French-Greek
  • +30 6906656134 Arabic-Sorani-Kurmanji
  • +30 6906956107 Urdu-Hindi-Panjabi +30 6906656125 Farsi-Pashto

Also, remember that as soon as you receive the first disbursement of the HELIOS rental subsidies, you immediately have to leave your accommodation place and move to your newly-leased apartment.

IMPORTANT! NEW DEADLINES OF ENROLMENT AND SUBMISSION OF LEASE AGREEMENTS: Beneficiaries notified of the decision granting them international protection until 31/12/2019 can enroll in the HELIOS project no later than 31/12/2020. The deadline to submit a lease agreement for an apartment is set at 30/04/2021. Beneficiaries notified of the decision granting them international protection from 1/1/2020 and onwards can enroll in the project and submit a lease agreement for an apartment up until 1 year after their recognition notification. For more information, send us an e-mail at iom_helios_info@iom.int or reach us at the WhatsApp Helpline.

 

ESTIA program participants

Please note that for the ESTIA program, we have a new guideline: recognized refugees/ subsidiary protection must leave the ESTIA program and their apartments within 30 days from the day the second instance decision (positive or negative) was issued. The issue here is that each implementing partner of the ESTIA program follows a different tactic on this issue.

Please contact your focal point or caseworker of your actor to receive specific guidelines regarding the period you have until you leave the residence.

If you are a resident of the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos or Leros, to be eligible for the ESTIA program, which is only available on the mainland, you need to approach the Reception and Identification Service (RIS) and have an international applicant’s card without geographical restriction. If you have a geographical restriction but belong to a vulnerable group, you should approach the Vulnerability Focal Points of RIS, submit all the relevant documentation and request the lift of geographical restriction and transfer to ESTIA accommodation.

Private apartments

You can rent an apartment on your own or stay in an apartment a friend rents for you without losing your rights as an asylum-seeker or refugee in Greece. If you stay in private accommodation, you lose access to cash.

To rent an apartment on your own, you must sign a house contract. To do that, you will need a tax number (AFM) and your TAXISnet codes since the whole procedure has to be completed online through the TAXISnet platform.

Learn how to get one:

Getting a tax number (AFM)

A few important things to know about renting in Greece:

Renting an apartment in Greece

Photo: Refugee.info / Daphne Tolis