Austria - Reception of Asylum Seekers
The Austrian Red Cross: Providing housing and support to asylum seekers in Steyr.
During their first summer mission to national societies which took place in Austria, the EU Migration unit visited the asylum related activities implemented by the local Red Cross branch of Steyr. There, following an appeal by the local government in 2004, an accommodation centre was set up by the Red Cross so as to provide housing and social assistance to asylum seekers in the region. Over 40 asylum seekers are now living in the centre, mainly families from Chechnya and Afghanistan. The Red Cross facilitates their access to adequate services including legal counseling, language courses and health care. Red Cross employees and volunteers are also very active in ensuring that local integration takes place smoothly by running a mediation service (via a 24 hr hotline) and one to one awareness-raising campaigns on asylum and migration.
Photo: Austrian Red Cross /Reiner Riedler
Alike in other European Union Member States, asylum seekers in Austria have limited access to employment. The status determination procedure lasting in some cases for over 4 years, the Austrian Red Cross contributes to their labour integration by offering some financial compensation in exchange for reparation works in the house.
Further needs have been identified to address the specific vulnerabilities of newly recognized refugees as these are no longer entitled to stay at the accommodation centre after the asylum status has been granted. The Austrian housing market being very hard to access, refugees encounter severe difficulties in finding alternative accommodation. The Steyr Red Cross branch thus wishes to implement a housing project similar to the Viennese project ‘Wohnen und Integration’ (Housing and integration). In the capital, the Red Cross acts as an intermediary between refugees and their firstname.lastname@example.org