Elpída Home is a Greek NGO established in direct response to the humanitarian crisis which unfolded across southern Europe starting in 2015 as unprecedented numbers of displaced people entered Europe to seek refuge.
With over 65 million people forcibly displaced globally, the world now faces the largest numbers of forced migration since WWII. Since 2014, over 2.5 million first-time asylum seekers have applied for international protection in the member states of the European Union (EU).
Over the last three years, Greece has become one of the main entry points for refugees entering the EU. At a time of economic hardship, Greece continues to shoulder a substantial share of the responsibility for this humanitarian crisis. As the process of relocation to countries of final asylum remains behind schedule, Greece and other Southern European states will continue to play a disproportionate role hosting asylum seekers.
It was in this environment that Elpída Home NGO was formed. Seeing the shortcomings of the humanitarian response in Greece, Elpida took on the mission of developing a camp that could host displaced people in a more humane manner. Elpída Home entered into a groundbreaking public-private partnership with the Ministry of Migration Policy to rehabilitate a 6,000 sq. meter abandoned textile factory in Thessaloniki, Greece. Envisioned to house up to 650 refugees, Elpída Home, in collaboration with the Radcliffe Foundation, financed the site’s construction. The Greek Ministry of Defense finance the building’s rent and utilities, while Elpída Home funds or facilitates all other services either directly or through a coalition of service providers.
Elpída Home officially opened on July 24th 2016, welcoming its first 180 residents. To date, construction is finished on the top floor, which consists of 34 partitioned rooms, and the building has served as a home for 317 individuals. The next stage of construction is in the approval phase and will expand the site's resident capacity to around 500.
The project was designed to produce tangible results for the residents, in terms of comfort, support, and opportunities. It was also envisioned to function as a pilot program to explore and develop new approaches to camp management and coordination.