CRS in Greece
173,447 refugees and migrants entered Greece from 2015-2016 seeking opportunities in Europe and an escape from conflict in their home countries. The population was transient as many persons of concern had other countries as their final destinations.
However, the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia closed in March 2016 and the EU-Turkey deal in the same month forced refugees and migrants to stay in Greece. The population has become static with 62,455 persons of concern residing in the country as of December 2016.
Shelter – CRS and its partners have renovated 13 urban buildings with 1,300 spaces for temporary shelter. Families live in these apartments which have kitchens and bedrooms, and they participate in building management committees and integration activities with the local community.
Cash Assistance – 10,000 persons of concern at 15 sites are receiving monthly cash assistance through pre-paid debit cards. Having cash allows persons of concern to meet their basic needs as they see fit, giving them choice and a more dignified way to begin integrate into lives of normalcy and safety. It also recirculates the assistance into the local economy, thereby reducing any burdens placed on their host communities.
CRS' History in Greece
CRS began working with Caritas Athens and Caritas Hellas in the summer of 2015 providing direct relief assistance such as food, medical care, hygiene, clothing, water, and counseling. Assistance expanded in November 2015 to provide safe spaces for refugees and migrants to gain information, access clean bathroom and shower facilities, and access referrals.
Since July 2016, as the population became more static, CRS and its partners have provided temporary urban shelter in refurbished apartment buildings. They also have cash cards and monthly cash loans for persons of concern living in government-run sites.
CRS has received funding from the START Network, the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNCHCR), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the O’Neil Foundation, Christian Aid, CAFOD, and other Caritas partners in support of the emergency relief, shelter, cash-assistance and protection programming implemented in Greece since 2015. CRS works in partnership with Caritas Hellas (Greece) and the diocesan partner Caritas Athens.