This project is part of the research-intervention-cluster "Shifting Solidarities?" which is funded by the Federal Government’s Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration.
The project “Different housing conditions and their potential for integration” examines the effects of different kinds of housing on the social and societal integration of refugee women. Federal, state and local levels of government are currently discussing questions related to housing mainly as logistical and financial challenges. Beyond this understanding of a mere provision of accommodation, housing is a crucial factor in the arrival process. Amongst the small number of existing studies on the housing situations of refugees in Germany (Wendel 2014, Aumüller et al. 2014), the experiences of female refugees has yet to be examined. The central question of the project is: Which kind of institutional, social and emotional potentials do different kinds of accommodation and housing offer for female refugees?
In the first part of the project we will deal with the perspectives of local administrations, volunteer organizations and housing companies or landlords. The research questions include: Which kinds of concepts of accommodation and housing have been developed in the selected states (Bundesländer)? How are the special needs of refugee women considered in theory and in practice? How are volunteers involved in the organization of accommodation and housing? How do housing companies and landlords react to refugees as tenants? Are actors and structures sensitive to the special needs of refugee women (e.g. discrimination, safety, family needs)?
The second part of the project focuses on the perspective of refugee women. The research questions include: How are temporary forms of housing satisfying the needs of refugee women? Does the kind and location of housing offer access to networks and resources such as support by civic organizations, social and legal advice services or social networks? How do the women experience and use the neighborhood in which they live? Do they feel safe and accepted there or are they confronted with discrimination and aggression? Do these factors support or hinder the process of integration within the local environment? In which kind of housing would the women like to live in the future?
We will research these questions in Berlin and a second state (Bundesland).