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

UNHCR worked with the Greek Government, local authorities and NGOs for the implementation of ESTIA, the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation programme,  co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union. The Greek Government took over the management of the ESTIA Accommodation programme at the end of 2020, and that of the ESTIA Cash Assistance programme as of 1 October 2021.

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

UNHCR recognises Ioannina’s commitment to effective inclusion of refugees

April 27th, 2021
Almost one year since the signature of a Memorandum of Cooperation between UNHCR and the Municipality of Ioannina, UNHCR praised the achievements of the community...

From a “death boat” to a home of compassion

March 16th, 2021
“War destroyed our country and ruined our lives. Putting my children on a boat – a ‘death boat’ – was a very hard decision to...

Passion for wood offers a new start in Heraklion, Crete

December 11th, 2020
Mehdi, a 32-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan and his wife, Roghaya, made a fresh start in Heraklion, Crete. Mehdi has been working in a carpentry...

“Crete has embraced us” – Five refugee girls and their parents start a new life in Heraklion

September 25th, 2020
Alisar Bakri, 8, on a swing at the garden of her home at Heraklion city in Crete. “I really like going...


Types of Accommodation

  • Apartments (97%)
  • Buildings (3%)


Accommodation Places (total): 27930.
Hosted Population: 21616.
Accommodation Beneficiaries (since November 2015): 71109.
Cash Assistance Beneficiaries (assisted in May 2020) : 82239.
Cumulative number of Cash Assistance Beneficiaries (April 2017 - May 2020) : 188858.

Accommodation Locations

  • Islands (7%)
  • Attica region (57%)
  • Central Greece (7%)
  • Northern Greece (20%)
  • Western Greece (5%)
  • Crete (4%)

As of 30 September 2020


Monthly and weekly updates on the progress of accommodation under ESTIA

ESTIA: A Home Away from Home. November 2015 – September 2021

October 4th, 2021
In 2015 – 2016, over a million people arrived in Greece seeking safety in Europe. In their majority from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, they had...

GREECE Cash Assistance – August – September 2021

October 2nd, 2021
In August - September 34,072 eligible refugees and asylum-seekers (16,471 families) received cash assistance in Greece, in 93 locations. UNHCR provides cash assistance in Greece,...

GREECE Cash Assistance – July 2021

August 2nd, 2021
In July 36,066 eligible refugees and asylum-seekers (17,521 families) received cash assistance in Greece, in 93 locations. UNHCR provides cash assistance in Greece, as part...

GREECE Cash Assistance – June 2021

July 2nd, 2021
In June, 58,757 eligible refugees and asylum-seekers (35,415 families) received cash assistance in Greece, in 90 locations. UNHCR provides cash assistance in Greece, as part...


2015-2020: ΕSTIA offers a home of compassion for refugees

In 2015, UNHCR, in cooperation with the Greek Government and with co-funding by the European Union, initiated the implementation of the ESTIA accommodation programme in Greece. By the end of 2020 the programme had provided support to more than 70,000 asylum-seekers and refugees, with the assistance of Municipalities as well as national and international NGOs. In 2021, the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum is fully assuming the management of the programme. Today, more than 20,000 asylum seekers are living in rented apartments in Greek cities through ESTIA having gradually access to services, education, and also the labour market and building true bonds with the local societies.

*Through ESTIA, the Emergency Support To Integration & Accommodation programme, asylum-seekers are provided with housing in apartments and financial support. In Heraklion city the programme is implemented by UNHCR in collaboration with Heraklion Municipality and the Heraklion Development Agency, and is co-funded by the European Union.