Identified gaps in services for urban based migrants in Athens

Information, psychosocial support and education are among the key needs and gaps in services according to 212 migrants interviewed by the Danish Red Cross in a recent assessment.

In order to get a clearer picture of the needs and gaps in services available for urban-based migrants in Athens, Danish Red Cross conducted an assessment at the end of 2017. The point of departure was the services provided to refugees and migrants at the Danish Red Cross supported “Multifunctional Centre” (MFC) in Athens. The MFC was established with the support of the Asylum Department in response to the rising need to support the increasing number of migrants living in urban centers in Athens. The MFC is focusing on providing psychosocial support, protection and integration services. The objective of the assessment was to inform the development of services offered from the MFC.

 Assessment Migrants Athens 2

Watch a short video on the Multifunctional Centre in Greece here

In total, 212 refugees and migrants participated in the assessment along with the staff of the MFC and other humanitarian actors, community centers and local institutions offering similar services.

Overall, 87.5% of MFC users rated the services as “good”, indicating that the MFC offers relevant services. The assessment also showed that more than half of the respondents used services offered by other community centres and organisations, not offered at the MFC.

The results of the assessment reflect the following major gaps and needs:

Information, communication and awareness raising
Updated and relevant information and its dissemination was identified as a gap despite the efforts made from various organisations. For instance, 60% of the respondents stated that they had received no information on rights and procedures in relation to asylum applications and 60% did not understand their legal status.

Mental health and psychosocial support
Almost 60% of the respondents answered that they experience sadness, isolation, and feel anxious and irritated. The majority suffer from sleeping difficulties, bad dreams, concentration problems and feeling overwhelmed. The main stress factors indicated were “waiting time” and “having life put on hold”, in addition to uncertainty, lack of network, information and understanding on how to navigate in the new society.

Future integration and employment
Many of the migrants in the assessment are educated and many have vocational skills from their home country. 54.8% answered that they plan to stay in Greece, which is a new development in comparison to earlier studies. Needs that are linked to integration were high on the list of “biggest needs that are not met”, with 87.3% of respondents wanting to improve their educational level and 86.8% wanting to improve their vocational skills.

Recommendations for services to address these gaps and needs build upon and expand on the good foundation of the services already provided by the MFC, which respondents have indicated they are satisfied with. Recommendations include identifying synergies with other stakeholders to develop and deliver information, expanding group activities to address more sensitive topics, and providing skills assessments, CV workshops and trainings in job applications and interviews.