The only way to apply for asylum on mainland Greece involves an online platform, which has been intermittently unavailable for months. This has left hundreds of newly arrived families with nowhere to sleep, cut off from public services, and at risk of detention until they receive documentation designating them as asylum seekers. We help them work around the faulty platform so they can start the asylum procedure and move to a camp. In the interim, we provide food and emergency shelter.
People are ineligible to live in a camp or receive food support until they file their asylum application, which they can't do because the online application platform has been intermittently unavailable for several months in a row. As a result, dozens of families with young children reach out to us every month, seeking help with accessing the platform, accommodation so they do not have to sleep in the streets, and food support.
Our social workers have managed to work with the authorities to find a workaround for the faulty platform and manually request asylum interview appointments. While people are waiting to be placed in a camp, we provide emergency shelter and cover their basic food needs. Since launching this project in July, we have helped 88 individuals begin the asylum procedure and move off the streets. Recently, we have picked up the pace and now place an average of 6 families per week.
We sincerely hope that the Ministry of Migration and Asylum will fix its online platform so that people seeking refugee can begin their asylum application promptly upon arrival. However, this matter is beyond our control. As long as people face homelessness and hunger, we will continue to do our best to provide a safety net to the most vulnerable asylum seekers in Greece. In parallel, we advocate for a fairer and more accessible asylum system in the country.