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Berlin creates new shelter for unaccompanied young refugees

Neu eröffnete Geflüchtetenunterkunft für Minderjährige

Katharina Günther-Wünsch (CDU), Senator for Education, Youth and Family, visits a newly opened shelter for unaccompanied minor refugees in Charlottenburg.

For some time now, more refugees have been arriving in Berlin - including minors unaccompanied by their parents or relatives.

In Charlottenburg, a new shelter for these young people has now opened. There is room for 102 residents in the former hostel, the sponsor announced on Thursday during a visit by Senator Katharina Günther-Wünsch (CDU). 70 people are currently being cared for there, most of them between the ages of 15 and 17.

German courses and recreational activities

In the residential home, which serves as a so-called initial reception facility, young refugees receive practical advice on their new life in Berlin. They can learn German and participate in leisure or sports activities. In addition, they receive psychological care, as many of them are traumatized after months or even years of flight.

Refugees currently stay five to six months in initial reception facility

Normally, young refugees stay only a short time in initial reception facilities, of which there are around 30 in Berlin, according to the Senate Department for Education. However, since regular places in the youth welfare services of the districts are lacking, for example in residential groups, and at the same time new young immigrants are arriving incessantly, they currently live there for five to six months. The number of unaccompanied minor refugees rose sharply last year, and the situation remains tense this year as well. According to the Education Administration, 802 of these young people arrived in Berlin this year by the end of May. Last year, there were 3205, but not all of them stayed in the city.

Around 880 unaccompanied minor refugees in Berlin

A good 880 unaccompanied minor refugees currently live in initial reception and so-called clearing facilities. Around 280 additional places are available. The main countries of origin of the young people have recently been Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey, followed by African countries. Senator Günther-Wünsch referred to the persistently high number of new arrivals coupled with scarce resources in terms of accommodation and care, as well as the shortage of skilled workers. "The issue has become extremely explosive," she said of the current situation. "It will continue to be a major concern for us this year and next."

Calls for more federal support

The reception, care and support of young unaccompanied refugees is more challenging and costly than for adult immigrants. This is because they are traumatized, have no family contact persons and need support practically around the clock. Against this background, Falko Liecke, State Secretary for Youth and Family, called for more support from the federal government in this task. Among other things, he said, there was an urgent need for targeted language support programs.

New shelter is "example of successful welcoming culture"

Günther-Wünsch praised the new dormitory as an example of successful welcome culture. "Here, the young people come to rest after often terrible experiences of flight." Intensive care and supportive offers would prepare them here for a self-determined life. "An important step toward successful integration of the young people is learning the German language, which is one of the things they are enabled to do here."

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 2 June 2023
Last updated: 2 June 2023

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