Safe Refugee: The specialized assistance program of SolidarityNow for LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers

Athens, February 13th, 2017.  SolidarityNow, in order to meet the increased needs and the multiple risks faced by the LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers during their stay in Greece, implements a specialized housing and assistance program entitled Safe Refugee, for the support of this particularly vulnerable population group.

Since 2016 until today, SolidarityNow through the implementation of the housing and accommodation programs for refugees and asylum seekers “Home for Hope” and with its specialized teams, has offered accommodation and free services to more than 3,700 refugees in Athens, Thessaloniki, and their surrounding areas.

LGBTI refugees frequently face multiple risks in all phases of the displacement cycle and need additional protection. They are often at heightened risk for discrimination and exclusion from access to basic services, and they are also subjected to different forms of abuse, marginalization, and exclusion. For the above reasons, we could not leave this vulnerable group without support and assistance“, says Margarita Kontomichali, the coordinator of the Safe Refugee program; and she continues: “In SolidarityNow, we believe in the respect of human dignity, freedom, equality, and in the respect of human rights for vulnerable people“.

Up to date, under the Safe Refugee program, SolidarityNow has offered accommodation to 20 LGBTI refugees residing in Greece, through independent apartments in Athens and Thessaloniki.

What the program offers

A major concern to cope with is the double stigma (being both LGBTI and a refugee) that this community must bear. Thus, psycho-social assistance to this specific target group is vastly needed to handle and resolve issues, such as trauma, violence, abuse, exclusion.

The beneficiaries of the program receive free-of-charge services to improve their lives while staying in Greece. Most of all, through this program, these people are treated with discretion, respect, and understanding.

SolidarityNow, through the specialized assistance program Safe Refugee for LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers, provides a range of free-of-charge services, such as:

  • Accommodation in fully equipped apartments
  • Psycho-social support
  • Referrals to medical assistance and legal counselling
  • Support and empowerment groups
*The program Safe Refugee is part of the housing and accommodation project Home for Hope, implemented by SolidarityNow with the support of UNHCR and funding by the European Union.