Refugees Welcome Polska
Why shouldn't refugees be able to live in shared flats (or other normal housing situations) with Poles, instead of mass accommodation? We thought the same & found a way to make it possible.
How it works?
Schritt 1: Anmeldung eures freien Zimmers

You sign up with your (shared) flat. We simply need some information on your housing situation.

Schritt 2: Kontaktherstellung

Through a refugee organisation, we will put you in touch with a person who fled to Poland.

Schritt 3: Finanzierung

If it's necessary, we will help you find ways to finance the rent/some of the expenses.

Schritt 4: Gemeinsam wohnen

 Your new flatmate will move in! Of course we will continue to support you.

Are you unhappy with the way refugees are treated in Poland and are interested in helping refugees settle easier? Do you have a free room in your shared flat? 

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We are convinced that refugees should not be stigmatized and excluded by being housed in mass accommodations. Instead, we should offer them a warm welcome. Here, in Poland. We believe we can establish a more humane culture of welcoming refugees, even on a small scale!

1. Anmeldung Eures freien Zimmers 1.Signing Up Your Flat

Housing refugees in private accommodation brings advantages for both sides: refugees are able to live in adequate accommodation, learn the language better, and adjust to the new environment more easily. You, on the other hand, will get to know a different culture and help a person in a difficult situation. If you want to take part in this, sign up here. We will put you in touch with a refugee who fits you and your flat. When you register your flat we ask for some details about your living situation, such as the number of flatmates, the languages you speak, your city and the district you live in etc.. This information will help us match hosts with refugees and vice versa..

2. Kontakt herstellen2. Getting in touch

After you sign up, with the help of an external organisation who works with refugees in your city, we will find a suitable flatmate for you. We will put you in touch so you can get to know each other better. The entire process consits of several meetings, both with volunteers and the refugee, thanks to which we can answer as many questions as possible and finalize the formalities. If both sides are happy, the refugee will move in shortly after. In our FAQ we explain the details of the entire procedure..

3. Finanzierung starten3. Starting the funding

There are many options to finance the rent. Micro-donations are a pretty successful tool: several people provide small donations on a monthly basis. Those small sums amount to the entire rent required in the contract. We sent e-mail requests to friends and acquiantances, both ours and yours, and within a few weeks we ensure the rent for the first few months. However, you are responsible for maintining your micro-donation network. The committments range between 10 and 200zł per month, and you will receive them directly to your bank account. Another option is to use an established platform to crowdfund.

4. Es geht los!4. Here we go!

After you get to know each other, your new flatmate will move in. We will support you during this time and will be there for your questions. If possible, you can always approach a local refugee organisation, such as the matching body in your city. Many of these provide language courses, help with connecting to the community or provide support in the search for internships or admission to university classes.
Register your Flat Support us financially

We're off to a great start! Refugees Welcome is already helping refugees in nine countries!

Refugees Welcome began in Germany, but is now working in Austria, Greece, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Italy. In all of Europe, we managed to find homes for refugees from Afghanistan, Albania, Algieria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, India, Iraq, Iran, Cameroon, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine. Let's help them find a home in Poland, too!

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

You can register as financial support for our flat owners, who wish to finance the rent through micro-donations. We will contact you via e-mail. You will discuss all the details together.
BECOME A DONOR

VOLUNTEER WORK

You have a bit of spare time? Maybe it's worth spending on helping others? Help refugees feel at home in their new environment and become a volunteer. Because everyone needs a buddy in his life, at least one!
BECOME A BUDDY

FAQ

How long after signing up should we be ready for a flatmate?

According to our experience, meetings and preparations prior to the move take 2 - 4 weeks and guarantees, that important questions and major issues are clarified in advance. However, your plans should be flexible. You might meet your new flatmate(s) only a few days before they move in.

How long can/should the refugee live with us?

That's up to you. However, we arrange accommodation for a minimal period of three months. The refugee should not remain in yet another state of uncertainty and should be able to plan ahead to a certain degree and three months give him such possibility.

Can we also sign up if we can only offer a living room couch to the refugee?

We think that the refugee should live under the same conditions as the rest of the flatmates. For this reason, we will only accept accommodation options, which include a separate room for the refugee(s).


What happens after I register my flat, prior to the refugee moving in?

The final step is preceded by several meetings, during which our volunteers assess the possibilities and preferences of both sides, and during which the host and the refugee have the chance to get to know each other better. First, usually during two meetings, we meet with the host. Then, we look for a refugee, who can match him – we consider languages to be a crucial factor here, but other criteria are important, too. Once we find a match, there are at least two meetings of the host with the refugee. If both sides are interested in living together, we arrange a fifth meeting, during which the flat owner and the refugee sign a contract. Our volunteers are present during the entire process.

Who's a buddy?

A buddy is our volunteer, whose main task is to support the refugee with everyday issues he might cope with. A buddy contacts the refugee regularly. He is the first contact person both for the refugee and the host, in case there are any questions or problems. Our volunteers are well informed about the help available to foreigners in their city/region and can provide the hosts and the refugees with necessary information. Buddies also participate in the process of matching the refugee and the host, and they help during the move itself:)

What happens, if we don't get along?

In this case the same will happen as in any other shared flat: you should try to find a solution together - we will help out, if it's necessary. A buddy accompanies each placement process as an additional contact person. If this does not work, there is a possibility to dissolve the housing situation and cancel the lease.


Do we have to cover any other costs besides the rent?

Generally, refugees should finance themselves, in certain cases they may receive support from the government. You are not responsible for the refugees' finances. Further, many refugees are able to cover the rent as well.

Can “Refugees Welcome“ help us with providing for the rent?

We are happy to help you find a suitable way of raising the money for the rent. We cannot finance your rent ourselves, but we are glad to put you in touch with people who would like to support shared flats. Additionally, there are institutionalized forms of financial aid. We will help you attain them, as long as you commit to housing the refugee for at least six months.

What financial possibilities does the refugee have?

Apart from private income or savings a refugee can, depending on his/her status, receive financial aid via the Department for Foreigners. A refugee in the course of the asylum procedure, who hasn't yet received a final decision regarding his stay in Poland, can receive 750zł a month, if he decides to live outside of the refugee center. In case of families, the sum per capita decreases. If the refugee obtained a refugee status and participates in the integration programme, he receives maximum 1260zł a month for half a year, and up to 90% of that sum for the next six months. That sum is analogically smaller per capita in case of families. During the first six months of their stay in Poland, refugees cannot work. After that first period they can look for a job, although the language barrier makes it very difficult.


What additional help can the refugee count on?

Apart from financial support, integration programmes include learning Polish. In larger cities in Poland, refugees receive support from non-profit organisations that help foreigners. They organize language courses, psychological and legal counseling, as well as support in finding a job or signing up for university classes. Our volunteers have all the necessary information about the support offered in their region.

Can I also support shared flats financially?

You can support flats financially, which plan on financing the rent through micro-donations. We will put you in contact via E-Mail. You can discuss further details together. Here, you can sign up as a flat supporter.

Does this project raise money by putting refugees in touch with flats?

No, “Refugees Welcome“ is a non-profit organisation.


Can I register with an empty apartment?

Our concept is based on the idea that the refugee has an easier start in a new reality, thanks to living with Poles. We built the logistics of Refugees Welcome in Poland around this foundation. If you whish to offer an empty flat to refugees, register with our form, and we will send your application to an organisation that helps accommodate refugees in empty accommodation.

What are the formalities connected to renting a room? Does the refugee pay for it?

We advise flat owners to sign contracts with refugees. The rent itself can be set for a minimum sum, that covers the costs of the refugee staying in the apartment (water, electricity etc.). This minimum is paid by the refugee himself/herself. We applied such rule since we want the refugee to feel responsible for his home. Even paying a symbolic sum for the apartment gives the refugee a sense of agency and independence. The amount paid monthly is individually discussed with the flat owner. If there is a need to pay a higher rent, that exceeds the financial possibilities of the refugee, a host can cover the rent via micro-donations. The rent is subject to taxation, just as in the case of any other renting agreement. We have a bilingual contract sample at your disposal, that can be signed in such cases. However, it is only a suggestion, and both the host and the refugee can decide on their own, what kind of agreement they would like to settle upon.

Do I have a saying in who will live with me?

Of course – just as in the case of choosing any other flatmate, you decide who will live with you. For us, language is the most important factor – we would like for at least one person in the household to be able to communicate with the refugee. That's why in all of the registration forms we ask about the languages you speak. All other preferences can be discussed in person during our meetings. They can also be described during registration. We cannot guarantee, that all your needs will be met – for instance, many people would like to help refugees from Syria. Currently the amount of Syrian refugees in Poland is small, but there are many refugees of other nationalities, who escaped from war or prejudice, too. Our project is directed to all refugees, regardless of religion or country of origin. We help refugees, who are already in Poland, not only those, who will come to our country via relocations from 2016 onwards.


Do you help refugees in all of Poland?

Although our team works from Warsaw, we are working hard on developing RWP satellites in all the bigger aglomerations in Poland. We have just launched our branch in Cracow. We receive offers from outside big cities as well, however we insist that refugees have easy access to organisations that support foreigners and that they have the possibility to learn Polish. Without that kind of help, the refugee has much smaller chances for successful integration. That's why the first step is to find homes in larger cities, where that kind of help is more accessible. However, if you live in a smaller town or in the countryside, and you wish to open your house for refugees, please, do contact us – each offer of help is of upmost value to us. Each case is considered individually, taking under consideration the needs and preferences of refugees, who might want to live outside a larger city.

Can I register a room, if I don't have the option to rent it for free?

Of course. First of all, refugees always pay a minimal rent, which covers the media price in the apartment (water, electricity etc.). If it is necessary to pay a larger sum, together we will think about ways to find the money. Many refugees are able to finance their own rent or at least a part of it. You can collect the missing sum by organizing a network of people, who will transfer you smaller, set sums on a monthly basis (micro-donations). Such network can be organized among family and friends. We can also contact you with people, who contacted us offering financial aid. There are other ways to collect money as well, such as crowdfunding. The only condition we have before we help you out money-wise, is that you register with a room that you wish to rent for at least six months.

What type of accommodation can I register with?

We are open to many forms of accommodation. We encourage to register family homes with one or more free rooms. However, apartments rented together by students or even rooms in local rectories are equally valuable. The only conditions are: primo, the refugee should not to live alone (for him to have contact with the host), secundo, the refugee should have his own private space and terzo, the refugee should be able to access organizations that support foreigners and those which provide him with language learning opportunities.


 

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Refugees Welcome Polska Association Chmielna 73B lok.16 Warsaw, Poland —
Our office on Chmielna street is temporary. Please set up meetings via e-mail. —
E-Mail: kontakt@refugeeswelcome.pl URL: www.refugees-welcome.pl

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