Housing instead of accommodation: Social integration of refugees

​What potential does private accommodation offer for the social integration of refugees? We survey the needs and expectations of those affected and civil society actors in order to analyse the processes involved.



In this research project, social integration is understood as a reciprocal process that develops through social contact between immigrants and natives (Scherr & Yüksel 2019, p. 385). Schmidt et al. (2020) show in their study on Germany that social integration is a longer-term process: regular contact between Germans and refugees becomes more likely the longer the refugees have been in Germany. Institutional contexts such as school, workplaces or the residential environment are significant for the development of informal social relationships (Scherr & Yüksel 2019, p. 388). The neighbourhood and circle of friends are particularly important (Schmidt et al. 2020). Living brings with it social contacts. These are an essential condition for arriving and participating in society. This includes the fulfilment of sociological needs in decent housing situations. Accommodation in private households and (later) in a flat of one's own has the potential to satisfy housing needs such as safety, protection, self-realisation, appropriation, belonging, privacy and familiarity, and to contribute to social integration through direct contacts. This potential needs to be investigated. Our aim is therefore to generate initial knowledge and hypotheses about what the social integration potentials of housing in private households are.

Looking ahead

​The results provide the basis for a follow-up project. This project will analyse forms of housing and processes of social integration of refugees as well as the contribution of civil society over a longer period of time.