Webinar: Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Rethinking Refugees and Housing

November 28, 2017

Photo credit: Lars van den Brink

Refugee housing is about more than bricks and mortar. It’s the foundation of the refugee’s relationship to a new home, neighbours and landlords. Getting it right tests the capacity of a community of hosts to open their doors to the newly-arrived and the needs of those who have left everything behind.

Creating the local conditions for a housing market that is open and inclusive of the city’s most vulnerable residents is challenging. How do we overcome the prejudices, biases, or ‘fear of the stranger’ that can be barriers to refugees seeking affordable accommodation, employment or a secure sense of belonging? When does ‘my’ home become ‘our’ home?

Learn about housing initiatives in Bristol, UK and Berlin, Germany, that are opening doors to refugee housing and local economic development by creating positive social interactions between refugee and host communities at home, at work and in local neighbourhoods.

Webinar Video

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Webinar Good Ideas:

In Bristol, UK, the #Rethinkingrefugee campaign, led by Ashley Community Housing, successfully challenged misinformation about refugee tenants and shifted landlord attitudes from bias against refugees as liabilities to recognizing them as community assets. Today, the evolving campaign continues to change perceptions of refugees and other vulnerable groups amongst the public, landlords, local authorities and employers.

In Berlin, Germany, the internationally recognized Refugees Welcome initiative provides an easy-to use, secure online platform that lets local residents open their homes and share their living spaces with refugees. Not simply about housing, Refugees Welcome promotes inclusion through co-living which accelerates second language learning and helps refugees get settled, make friends, gain social networks and find employment faster and more easily.


Fuad Mahamed, CEO, ACH (Ashley Community Housing) (Bristol, UK)

Fuad came to the UK as a refugee with no English and went on to obtain a first class degree in Engineering from Bath University followed by an MSc in Management from Lancaster Business School.

When Euro Hostels collapsed and started evicting people, he stepped in, setting up Ashley Community Housing in 2008 in order to support the resettlement of refugees like himself. This accommodation-based refugee resettlement service now spans across 3 cities, employs 50 people and settles 700 individuals a year.

He has since graduated from executive Programmes at the Cranfield School of Management, Aston Business School, SAID business School of Oxford University and is currently a Clore Social Fellow for Refugee and Migrant communities. Together with his colleagues at ACH, Fuad has argued for a new approach to refugee assistance based on development rather than just humanitarianism. He volunteered in Dadaab, world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya last summer and advised the Somali government about refugee repatriation and resettlement.


Sophie Mirow, Program Coordinator, North and Internationalization, Refugees Welcome

Sophie studied International Relations and Conflict Studies in Maastricht and London. She previously worked for Save the Children, Human Rights Watch, and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (ECCCC) in Phnom Penh. She is responsible for the allocation of refugees in Hamburg, Bremen and Lower Saxony, English-language public relations and manages the internationalization of the programme.

Technical Requirements

No cost to participate. You will need a computer with internet access and speakers. Pre-test System Requirements. Adobe Connect requires the Flash Player plugin, download version 13.0 or above to run.


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