Ocalenie Foundation calls for support for “Welcome Home” program.
The “Welcome home” is the Ocalenie Foundation answer to basic problems in the integration of refugees in Poland, such as the threat of homelessness and poverty, difficulties in contact with institutions, the lack of stable employment, lack Polish language and psychological problems (including those associated with trauma). However, a basic need of people, who had to flee from their country is a stable place to live. Therefore, the program also involves housing assistance for people in particularly difficult situation.
Basic information about the Ocalenie Foundation:
Film summarizing the activity of Foreigners Help Center (2011-2013) – English subtitles
Information about the program:
Program “Welcome Home” runs by the Ocalenie Foundation is a grassroots initiative which provides refugee and migrant families with possibility of renting apartments at an affordable price. The apartments are acquired from the private market and local authorities’ resources. The landlords agree to a significant price reduction (up to 30%) and sign the contract with the Foundation. In return, they receive guarantees of long-term rental and keeping apartments in good shape. Both the team program and recruitment committee include representatives of the refugee communities. Participation in the program requires a voluntary work (small repairs, painting) as well as learning Polish (cpc.org.pl/?lang=en).
Over the past 15 years 114 000 people applied for the refugee status in Poland, but decision to stay here permanently had made only 3417 (3%). Constantly, the major barrier to integration is the lack of an affordable housing. Risk of homelessness force refugees to move to other EU countries. Many families wander for years around the EU. Those who decide to stay in Poland live for years in extreme poverty. Polish government makes no attempt to change this situation and activities in this field are sustained by local authorities but there are far from sufficient. So far, the Foundation offer has lacked support in the housing field and for this reason many families, who had chances for successful integration, were forced to leave.
Program is based on the existing solutions, such as the Social Rental Agency. However, there are only a few initiatives like these in Poland, but what’s more important they are operating on a small scale and are directed only to Poles.
Without meeting the basic needs of refugees such as housing, the rest such as independence and integration are not possible. Apartment rental at an affordable price provides refugees with basic stability, which is the foundation of a further integration. Each family is supported by the volunteer who help to adapt to the new conditions and integration into the local community. The program is complemented with the ongoing efforts of the Ocalenie Foundation (environmental support, legal psychological assistance, professional activation, vocal trainings, Polish language classes, adaptation workshops and economic education). However, the ongoing activities of the Foundation cannot be fully effective without providing housing component in a wide scale. Participation in the program will help stabilize the situation of families and give a chance to the concentration on other needs, such as supporting the children and youth education, learning Polish language, using of counseling and psychotherapy (trauma victims), job searching and increasing opportunities in the labor market, strenthening the neighbor relationships, social and cultural activities. Housing support will be important in particular for single parents and families who have experienced trauma in which one or more people are in need of psychotherapy. The aim of the programme is to prepare refugees to normal life in Polish society which includes renting an apartment at the open market (the process from 2 to 5 years). The additional impact of the program will be focused on preventing anti-refugee attitiude and promoting tolerance through the activity of refugees for local communities.
Therefore, the Ocalenie Foundation has decided to start the implementation of the program which includes:
- obtaining housing from private individuals and local authorities,
- equipping and renovating premises with the participation of families supported by the program,
- renting premises for refugees and other migrants at risk of marginalization at prices which they themselves can realistically afford (rent subsidies)
- activation and support for families benefiting from the program.
In order for our program to be realized we need your support.
You can support Program by:
1) Cash donations marked “WITAJ”
ul. Krucza 6/14a, 00-537 Warszawa
Account number: Raiffeisen Bank Poland S.A .: 11 1750 0009 0000 0000 2156 6004
Bank address: ul. Piękna 20, 00-549 Warszawa
BIC / SWIFT for international transfers: RCBWPLPW
Donations will be used for:
- renovation and equipping of flats
- support for participants
- subsidies for rent
- program management
2) Providing housing free of charge (non profit) or at a cost significantly below market prices. The person receives guarantees for no deterioration of the flat (insurance) and Foundation provides the necessary adaptation work.
Those wishing to share an apartment, please send detailed information about the apartment (location, condition, size, number of rooms and the planned period of sharing – a minimum of one year).
3) In-kind donations in form of home appliances and furniture (nev and used) from private donors, manufacturers and furniture stores. According to Polish law, manufacturers and sellers have the right to the valuation of in-kind donations at market price.
Any questions and statements of support should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org