Antwerp

Integration of migrants and refugees

CURANT - Co-housing and case management for Unaccompanied young adult Refugees in ANTwerp

"With this initiative, we want to ensure that young fugitives have the opportunity to rebuild their lives in Antwerp. Our first priority is the integration of these youngsters who, like all youngsters,  deserve that extra helping hand. Curant combines human compassion and social responsibility. We hope Antwerp can be a leading example for other cities"

Fons Duchateau, Chairman social welfare department, city of Antwerp
The project in numbers
33%
of all Flemish refugees come to the City of Antwerp
378
unaccompanied young refugees between the ages of 17 and 21 currently get financial benefits from the social welfare system in Antwerp, but not the needed assistance
17.000
people are on the list for social housing in the City of Antwerp
EUR 4,894,303.32
Total ERDF budget granted
Challenge addressed

Within the refugee population, unaccompanied minors are the most vulnerable group. 
Even though these minors get offered care and protection (as determined by the European and international standards), the specific help they get is only available until they reach the age of adulthood. 
Once these minors reach the age of 18, they are no longer able to benefit from subsidized shelter, mandatory integration courses, enrollment in reception classes, customized trainings, nor the support from a legal guardian. 

As a result, these new adults often live in depraved housing properties. 
They also risk becoming permanently dependent on social welfare. Currently, 326 youngsters that financially depend on the social welfare department of the City of Antwerp find themselves in this situation. 

Solution proposed

In order to help these young adult refugees, the CURANT-project proposes a mixed use of a set of policy instruments. Curant uses these instruments in a new integrated way to provide both a safe living environment as well as guidance. The CURANT-project not only provides a solution for affordable housing (rent being €250 a month per person), but also a guaranteed one-on-one integration approach. 

A total of 75 cohousing units will be set up through purchase, renovation and private renting. In these units minimum 75 and maximum 135 unaccompanied young refugees cohabit with Flemish buddies for at least 1 year. The buddy helps the refugee with different aspects. For example: looking for a job, building a network, learning Dutch.

Furthermore, the refugees are intensively guided during the whole project, on different levels:  
•    social  network and integration 
•    education
•    independent living
•    language learning
•    leisure time
•    psychological counseling 
•    Professional activation 

During the project, the University of Antwerp measures the impact of the cohousing and intensive support on the integration of the young refugees. ‘If social integration and inclusion in the host society is the end goal, cohabitation is the vehicle to get there, the volunteer buddy is the copilot and circular integrated support services provide the fuel to finish the road.’

Partnership
  • Stad Antwerpen
  • Solentra (Solidarity and Trauma) - unit of the psychiatric division of UZ Brussel
  • JES vzw - 'urban lab' for children and youngsters in Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels
  • Vormingplus - NGO
  • Atlas integratie & inburgering Antwerpen - NGO
  • University of Antwerpen
Expected results

The project aims to help the target group with education, training and work, creating a network of supportive relations and dealing with (war) trauma. The refugees transcend their status as welfare beneficiaries and are able to create a good future in Antwerp. In turn, their success stories set an example for their peers as they personify a successful integration. Successfully integrating young refugees to society contributes to a more harmonious urban community and an increased public safety.

The buddy’s will sharpen their intercultural qualities and take up an exemplary role as pioneers of a welcoming society. In the meanwhile, both groups benefit from living in affordable housing. The main partners will have actively acquired expertise on working with the target group.
Thus they are able to develop cooperative working methods, allowing regular future services to be tuned.

Main milestones

February 2017: the first  cohousing units in urban patrimony are renovated, recruitment of the first buddy’s and refugees starts
November 2017: first 30 refugees and 30 buddies are selected and living together
May 2018: first refugees and buddies moving out of the project and presentation of first evaluation from University of Antwerp (CeMIS) 
July 2018: opening of 16 modular units (two bedroom apartments on 1 site)
October 2018: all investments are made and there is a peak of 66 newcomers and 66 buddies in a trajectory
May 2019: presentation of second evaluation from University of Antwerp(CeMIS)
October 2019: project finished with a press conference on project results and knowledge sharing at different levels 

The project in numbers
33%
of all Flemish refugees come to the City of Antwerp
378
unaccompanied young refugees between the ages of 17 and 21 currently get financial benefits from the social welfare system in Antwerp, but not the needed assistance
17.000
people are on the list for social housing in the City of Antwerp
EUR 4,894,303.32
Total ERDF budget granted
Contact of the project
Jolien De Crom
Chef de projet
Fabio Sgaragli
Expert UIA

Project News

BREM16 launch party

Opening BREM 16, what a party!

On 21st Of November CURANT officially opened their innovative modular buildings BREM 16. ...
CURANT modular units

CURANT builds innovative project BREM16 and meets the neighbours

At the moment, CURANT is building the innovative project BREM16. BREM16 is the brand name for our project with 16 modular units. The name refers to th...
Interview with CURANT members

CURANT Zoom-In: Interview paints wider picture on the importance of leadership

UIA Expert Fabio Sgaragli interviews Marianne De Canne and Jolien De Crom, the Project Coordinator and Project Manager of the CURANT project. ...

Implementing the CURANT project in Antwerp: Get an update in the second UIA journal on the activities carried out

UIA Expert Fabio Sgaragli has been collecting the knowledge stemming from the implementation of the innovative solution proposed by the City of Antwer...
CURANT at the Social Affairs Forum

City of Antwerp integrates several Sustainable Development Goals from the UN in CURANT

The city of Utrecht and Eurocities organised a social affairs forum in Utrecht on 7 and 8 March 2018. The theme was “‘Making the city together: co-cre...
Sporting community event

Sporting community event made the duo’s, landlords and social workers connect on an equal basis

The CURANT community had the opportunity to play sports and get to know each other at our latest community event in February. Around 20 youngsters par...
CURANT youngsters

CURANT-youngsters are enforced by psycho-educational courses!

‘The Human Link’ and the city of Antwerp organised a ‘Mind-Spring -course’ especially for our young refugees. ‘The Human Link’ is an organisation spec...

CURANT Journal 1: Hear from the project’s UIA Expert how it is implementing its bold solution

Get to know better what Antwerp is doing in this UIA Expert journal!...

CURANT participates in Swedish ESN-seminar on migrant children

The European Social network (ESN) organised a two day seminar on migrant children and young people in Stockholm on 23 en 24 October 2017 and CURANT wa...
Antwerp CURANT UIA project

Summer holiday? Not for CURANT!

This summer CURANT and our partners organised lots of activities for our duo’s....
CURANT IMISCOE conference

CURANT scores and makes new friends at academic conference

Researchers of CeMIS (Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies, University of Antwerp) presented CURANT at the annual conference of IMISCOE. Tha...
Antwerp CURANT UIA project

The art of matching a buddy and a young refugee

CURANT is a partnership between the city of Antwerp and several partners. One of our partners, Vormingplus Antwerp, tries to find the perfect match be...

Other UIA-cities show interest for CURANT at Eurocities conference

On 5 and 6 April the working group ‘Migration and Integration’ from eurocities took place in Lisbon. Lisbon was host city. Together with around 25 oth...
Curant co-housing duos

CURANT presents its first co-housing duos

On Monday, February 6th 2017, we proudly presented our cohousing project to the wider public. The chairman of social welfare Fons Duchateau and projec...

Media

Meet Wouter and Farzad, two of the CURANT project buddies!

Curant co-housing duos

Project team and co-housing duos

CURAN UIA
CURANT UIA
CURANT UIA
CURANT Antwerp

Prezi presentation of CURANT project

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