Curing the Limbo

Municipality of Athens, in partnership with the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, International Rescue Committee and Catholic Relief Services.
A circular integration model in which refugees receive training and affordable housing in return of their work supporting the needs of the local communities and participating in citisen-led activities that improve life quality in the neighbourhoods.
What solution does the innovation propose?

The programme aims to address situations of exclusion and inactivity among refugees by connecting them to the residents through a modality of exchange in which refugees receive training, job counselling and housing while they give back to the city by participating in activities and common projects with the locals. The connection of all integration pillars with the Athenian neighbourhoods facilitates integration by connecting both populations directly, with trainings taking place in various locations, apartments and jobs being found through neighbourhood networks, etc. Thus, participants but also neighbourhoods benefit from these synergies, aiming at better social cohesion overall.


The project is supported by the Urban Innovative Actions initiative.

Impact evidence


The programme expects to break the isolation and state of apathy of refugees, as well as to enchane their access to housing and skills development. The city and it neighbourhoods are also expected to benefit from the collaborative projects implemented by both refugees and locals.

How does it work?

The programme is addressed to people that have been granted refugee status after 2015, who are aged 18 or older and who speak Arabic, Farsi, French, English or Greek. Once informed and registered in the programme, participants go through an intake interview with the psychosocial support team, which helps understand the profile of each participant and works on an individual plan for participation. 

Refugees receive support to exit the humanitarian relief shelters and integrate into the city. Trainings are carried out outside of the classrooms to help participants develop skills in non-traditional ways. An affordable housing model will also be piloted aiming to give incentives to landlords to rent their properties to refugees in an affordable way.

Some ideas of collaborative projects have emerged out of the neighbourhood public events. One of them, for example, is to use a recently expropriated land of 9 acres and turn it into a sustainable social enterprise with locals, refugees and civil society organisations for the cultivation of organic products.

Geographical scope

Where was initially developed
Athens, Greece.
Last updated: 
March 2019

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Innovation type
Strength of the evidence

Teoría de cambio prometedora

Promising theory of change
Adaptation experience

Experiencia puntual

Isolated experience

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