Beyond a Roof and Walls: Gaps and Challenges in Providing Adequate Housing for Refugees in Malmö

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Beyond a Roof and Walls: Gaps and Challenges in Providing Adequate Housing for Refugees in Malmö

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Publication 2-year master student thesis
Title Beyond a Roof and Walls: Gaps and Challenges in Providing Adequate Housing for Refugees in Malmö
Author Sri Nissanka, Asha Manori
Date 2020
English abstract
This study attempts to analyse urban housing issues and their effects on providing adequate housing for refugees, using Malmö as a case study. The content analysis adopted here uses a combination of semi-structured interviews with relevant government officers, and reports published by government agencies and international institutions as sources of information. The dominant role of the market in Sweden’s housing sector has created housing inequalities and many issues for groups with lower socio-economic status. These issues consist of shortages in affordable dwellings, cramped housing conditions and spatial segregation within the city etc. This study illustrates that refugees in Malmö face additional issues such as lack of knowledge on the housing market, reluctance of landlords to accept refugees’ establishment allowance as an income source, discriminatory attitudes, and lack of larger apartments for their comparatively larger households. They function as barriers to refugees’ right to adequate housing as well as their right to the city, while limiting their opportunities to establish in the host country. The municipality also faces these issues when arranging housing for its ‘assigned’ refugees. Additionally, they are faced with an extended demand on the social services that are meant to support the native homeless groups. Refugees’ housing issues are associated with some gaps involved in the process of accommodating refugees. The Settlement Act introduced in 2016 does not consider availability of housing when distributing refugees to municipalities. It takes more than two years to process asylum applications, compared to UN regulations of six months. The prolonged stay in accommodation centres delays their opportunities to become self-sufficient and integrated into the host society. Refugees are not provided with information relevant to the housing market in Sweden or the municipalities they are allocated to. Although municipalities are given the full responsibility of housing refugees assigned to them, the Settlement Act does not provide any guidelines as to how it should be done. In Malmö there is no evidence that any other government agency or a civil society organisation work in collaboration with the municipality to house refugees. It is clearly evident that the self-housing (EBO) mechanism functions against the objectives of the Settlement Act, consequently major cities such as Malmö continue to be refugee hotspots. In this context, I would argue that refugee housing issues cannot be solved only through dispersal policies, but they should be backed by relevant housing policies that consider housing as a human right, rather than a market commodity. The municipalities should adopt a holistic approach in providing adequate housing for refugees, with adequate regulations on the housing market for the benefit of all.
Publisher Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle
Language eng (iso)
Subject Refugees
Settlement Act
Malmö
Housing market
Adequate housing
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/31718 Permalink to this page
Link to publication in DiVA Find this research publication in DiVA (n/a for student publ.)
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