Students and refugees create new communities

Together, everyone makes a city what it is – whether it’s a refugee trying to find their way around a new place or a student keen to become part of their neighborhood. Now, SSH and Academie van de Stad are bringing both these groups together by creating a 'student-refugee community'.

Student-Refugee Communities
Once refugees have successfully obtained a residence permit, SSH often puts them in accommodation where they can start their new life. But these properties don’t always present much opportunity for the newcomers to meet students living nearby. So, from February 2017 a pilot project called “Student-Refugee Community” will begin. Students and young registered refugees (aged 18-23) will have the opportunity to live together in some of Utrecht’s student accommodation.

“Living together, building together”
Sharing student accommodation, students and registered refugees will have the chance to learn about each other’s cultures and, together, help build a future in which refugees can be integrated better into society. A team of socially-minded Community Builders has been assembled to bring the project to fruition.

How does it work?
If a room in an SSH property becomes available, the other residents are asked if they would like a registered refugee to join them as a housemate. The refugee group VluchtelingenWerk arranges for the refugee residents to come and then Community Builders help them settle in by organizing activities and providing all the information they need.

Every municipality in The Netherlands receives a target from central government for housing those refugees who already have residence status. The municipality of Utrecht put agreements in place for housing them with local housing associations. SSH is the body responsible for using student accommodation to do this while Academy City is responsible for coordinating the project. Other partners include VluchtelingenWerk, Nidos, COA and the Utrecht municipal council.