Current language: English



Where will I live?

If you apply for asylum in Germany, federal law requires that you live in an “initial reception center” during the first three to six months. This is a shelter where you share a room with other refugees and receive three meals a day. There will be social workers, interpreters and other staff who are there to help you get oriented in your new surroundings. Because so many refugees arrived in Berlin in 2015, a lot of emergency shelters had to be set up to recieve the new arrivals. As the city of Berlin is completing new refugee accommodation, these emergency shelters are being closed down successively.

After three to six months at a reception center, you are free to move into an apartment. However, there is a shortage of affordable housing in Berlin; as a result, you may only be able to get a room in a collective accommodation for refugees. Collective accommodations are more comfortable than reception centers or emergency shelters, they offer more privacy and you can cook your own meals. If you live in a collective accommodation or a rented apartment, you recieve higher benefit payments because you buy your own food.

Who will help me if I have questions or problems?

The initial reception centers and collective accommodations have a management and staff who can help if you have questions or problems. If you encounter problems in or with your accommodation itself, please contact the management or staff first. If they cannot help you, you can reach out to the social service at LAF to get assistance at

If you lose your accommodation, you should go directly to the LAF social benefits center to be allocated a new place to stay. You do not need to make an appointment.

LAF Leistungszentrum
Darwinstr. 14 – 18
Public Entrance: Goslarer Ufer 15
10589 Berlin
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 7.30 am to 2 pm

Can I move into an apartment?

After three to six months in an inital reception center or emergency shelter you are free to move into an apartment. It is important to note, however, that there is a shortage of affordable housing in Berlin at the moment. This is why many refugees are living in collective accommodation.

If you do find an apartment and cannot pay the rent yourself, the costs will be assumed by LAF within certain limits.

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