ESTIA - A new chapter in the lives of refugees in Greece

UNHCR works with the Greek Government, local authorities and NGOs to provide urban accommodation and cash assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers in Greece through ESTIA, the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation programme,  funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid.

Urban accommodation provides a normal daily life for refugees and asylum seekers in Greece, facilitates their access to services, including education, and the eventual integration for those who will remain in the country. The host population also benefits from embracing diversity through peaceful coexistence as well as the renting of their apartments.

Cash assistance restores dignity and empowers refugees and asylum-seekers who can now choose how to cover their basic daily needs. It also contributes directly to the economy of the host community through the purchase of services and goods.


Learn how ESTIA supports the everyday life of refugees and asylum seekers in Greece

“Face Forward …into my home” opens its doors in Athens

November 22nd, 2017
Face Forward …into my home is an interactive art project focused on the stories of people who have been forced to leave their homelands and are rebuilding their...

Back to School for Refugee Children in Greece

September 28th, 2017
Destiny, a Nigerian refugee living in Greece, has three young children aged 7, 9 and 10. Since arriving in the country, she has been actively...

Greek islanders open their hearts and businesses to refugees

September 22nd, 2017
By Vania Turner and Bela Szandelszky The tiny Greek island of Tilos may have a population of under 800. But, over the last year, it has...

Refugees give new life to abandoned buildings

July 26th, 2017
On 5 May 2017, a new facility in Western Greece opened its doors to families fleeing war and persecution. "Agia Eleni" was renovated by UNHCR,...


Types of Accommodation

  • Apartments (84.5%)
  • Hotels (2.3%)
  • Buildings (13.1%)
  • Host family programmes (0.2%)


Accommodation Places (total): 18568.
Accommodation Actual Capacity*: 16025.
Hosted Population: 14778.
Accommodation Beneficiaries (since November 2015): 37657.
Cash Assistance Beneficiaries (assisted in October 2017) : 33595.
Cumulative number of Cash Assistance Beneficiaries (April - October 2017) : 49853.

Accommodation Locations

  • Islands (6.7%)
  • Attica region (61.2%)
  • Central Greece (3.6%)
  • Northern Greece (22%)
  • Western Greece (4.8%)
  • Crete (1.7%)

As of 14 November 2017

*Actual  capacity is calculated as the sum of hosted population in occupied units and the number of places corresponding to empty units. The rule applies only for apartments.


Monthly and weekly updates on the progress of accommodation under ESTIA

The Greece Cash Alliance: Meeting Basic Needs through a Harmonized Partnership System for Cash Assistance

November 24th, 2017
The Greece Cash Alliance (GCA) is a partnership between UNHCR and five international NGOs comprised of Catholic Relief Services, the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps,...

Accommodation Programme – Weekly Update,21 November 2017

November 23rd, 2017
As of 21 November 2017, the total number of places for refugees and asylum seekers created by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in the framework...

Greece Cash Assistance – October 2017

November 16th, 2017
In October, 33,595 eligible refugees and asylum seekers (15,153 households) received cash assistance in Greece, in 93 locations. UNHCR provides cash assistance in Greece, as...

Accommodation Programme – Weekly Update,14 November 2017

November 15th, 2017
As of 14 November 2017, the total number of places for refugees and asylum seekers created by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in the framework...


Greece: For refugees, an island of hope

On the tiny Greek island of Tilos, population 700, 10 families from war-torn Syria have found refuge and work and a sense of community. UNHCR and its partner Solidarity Now, with European Commission Funding support, have been providing accommodation and language and education classes for adults and children for almost a year. Many of the refugees –all of whom have been granted refugee status and have the right to work – say they want to stay on the Dodecanese island, and the islanders say they are honoured to host them.