Housing Europe was invited by an ECRE to contribute to a housing working group as part of an inspiring seminar asking How social innovation and social innovators can contribute to the integration of refugees in European societies? The seminar on the topic of “Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion”, held at the European Economic and Social Committee, brought together 280 speakers and representatives from refugee groups to civil society organisations, cities, tech companies, start-ups, and private sector representatives.
The seminar showcased initiatives from around Europe which have emerged in response to the specific needs of refugees and asylum seekers, triggered by the humanitarian emergencies, first outside and then inside Europe.
Housing Europe fully agrees with the ECRE view that Integration is and will increasingly be a pressing issue on the EU and national political agendas, as more and more asylum seekers are granted a status and will require proper integration policies and practices. While the immediate humanitarian issues are far from being solved, ECRE in the housing workshop aimed to dedicate some time to more medium and long-term issues related to housing and integration. Speaking at the workshop, Sorcha Edwards stressed that while housing providers cannot offer alone a solution to integration, in many countries they are playing a central role in partnership with local authorities and service providers and employers.