Webinar: Breaking Ground: City Solutions for Refugee Housing in Münster and Cleveland

June 30, 2016

Good, affordable housing is a critical first step to successful refugee reception, settlement, and integration. In today’s urban migration context, that means cities are under increasing pressure to provide affordable and dignified housing options. Getting housing right promotes urban resilience and liveability in good times –and in times of shock or crisis.

In the city of Cleveland, welcoming refugees may also provide a solution to the problem of vacant homes in a sagging rust-belt economy. Danielle Drake of US Together joins us to discuss how Cleveland is re-thinking its social housing model for refugees as part of a larger strategy to re-vitalize local neighbourhoods and improve living conditions for all residents.

Fifteen years ago, the city of Münster rejected the temporary, camp-like refugee housing models of the period and embraced a humanitarian approach that improves living standards while helping normalize the settlement experience for everyone, turning strangers into neighbours. Today, that foresight is helping cities like Münster accommodate an unprecedented wave of Syrian refugees to Germany. Jochen Köhnke joins the conversation to share challenges and successes from Münster’s refugee housing experience.

Webinar Video

 Webinar Resources

Featured Good Ideas

  • Cleveland, United States:  Community leaders, nonprofit groups and public officials weaves refugee housing into plans for revitalizing derelict neighbourhoods into community based dream neighbourhoods.
  • Münster, Germany: Improving living standards for refugees helps normalize the refugee settlement experience for everyone, turning strangers into neighbours.

Speaker BIOS

Daniel DrakeDanielle Drake

Community Relations Manager, US Together, Cleveland (United States)

Danielle Drake is a native of Buffalo, NY and graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a BA in Communication and a certificate in Linguistics. She spent almost a decade in the fields of marketing, sales and corporate training in financial service companies and both commercial and residential real estate before relocating to Cleveland OH in late 2008. Soon after she began volunteering as an ESL teacher for adult refugees and was offered a job at the agency a few months later. She then obtained an adult ed. teaching permit and an advanced TESOL certificate from Cambridge University while continuing to teach ESL full time and coordinate the volunteer and intern program at a refugee resettlement agency. In January 2013 she moved to Us Together Inc. and was the Resettlement & Housing Specialist before being promoted to Community Relations Manager. She oversees pre-arrival planning & housing for all new refugee families, tutoring and mentorship programs, community outreach and education. She is also the Public Affairs Chairperson for the Refugee Services Collaborative of Cleveland and serves on the housing committee and the refugee advisory council.



Jochen Köhnke

City Councillor for Migration and Intercultural Affairs, Stadt Münster, Münster (Germany)

Jochen Köhnke has been head of Department for Migration and Intercultural Affairs of the City of Münster since 2000. In this function he was – amongst other things – responsible for the development of a guiding principle/model for migration of the City of Münster and a corresponding project about Social Return on Investment, during which the City of Münster cooperated with the Dutch city Almelo and the municipality Belm. He was also member of the jury of a nationwide award that was hosted by Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Federal Ministry of Interior in 2004/5. As early as 2004 he developed and supervised the much-noticed/highly respected decentralized housing concept for refugees and the caring concept of the City of Münster, which was part of the former. These concepts included mediation processes. Before he became head of Department for Migration and Intercultural Affairs: he was running the office of the Lord Mayor of the City of Münster. Shortly after the German reunification in the 1990s he was involved in the establishment and reorganization of the child and youth service in Chemnitz (Eastern Germany). After he had studied social-service work, he devoted himself to the supervision and development of different models of participation that were oriented towards citizenship and politics in Düsseldorf, the capital city of the German state of North Rhine Westphalia.





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