State responses to the 'refugee crisis', between accommodation and incarceration
Although the arrival of victims of wars and disasters is by no means a phenomenon of only the last couple of years, the so called 'refugee crisis' since 2015 accelerated the application of new accommodation policies in Greece and Athens. Pressing housing needs of the newcomers were initially covered in makeshift camps and after that in official camps (‘Open Facilities for Temporary Hosting’), financed and governed by a complex and unstable set of state authorities, the UNHCR, and EU Agencies, as well as national and international NGOs. These camps are usually located at the outskirts of urban areas and tend to isolate refugees from existing residential districts. At the same time, a parallel system of accommodation in private apartments was established initially for those eligible for relocation in other EU countries and later for the most vulnerable. This system reduces residential segregation but a question mark hangs over its terms, conditions and sustainability. Meanwhile, detention centres continue to be reserved for those that are not considered deserving the name of refugees or asylum seekers. What they confront there is almost absolute isolation, indefinite periods of detention and harsh living conditions.
Due to limitations in the number of persons that can visit each site, this field trip had to split into three distinct sections:
10.a Refugee camp of Elaionas (old industrial district of the inner city, 15 participants).
10.b Refugee camp of Schisto (industrial district at the outskirts of Piraeus, 15 participants).
10.c Community centre and walk in central Athens (urban accommodation, 20 participants).