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Alternatieve woonvormen voor niet-begeleide jongvolwassen vluchtelingen in Gent

Joke Sonjeau
This study is an initial attempt to investigate how alternative housing can contribute to a better integration of Unaccompanied Young Adult Refugees (UYAR) in Ghent. It recognizes the vulnerability of the target group and tries to meet their social, cultural and practical needs. Respondents, both stakeholders and UYAR, took part in qualitative research by participation in in-depth interviews and focus discussion. The results show that UYAR suffer from socio-cultural isolation and experience difficulty establishing an inter-ethnic network. Furthermore, they experience obstacles in their search for a house. Discrimination, high rental prices and difficulties with domicile are some of the most common problems. This study claims that alternative housing such as cohousing between UYAR and native-born Belgian student s would both solve the housing problems and the social segregation of UYAR. It will stimulate positive integration by ‘social learning’ and benefits the native students as well in finding proper housing and experience a multicultural way of living. The results suggest that a similar model would be beneficial for all stakeholders, but hard to reach because of legal and budgetary restrictions. Therefore, profound research should be set up to investigate the possibilities to adapt the legal frame. Also, a detailed financial plan is required to discover the feasibility and to adapt the plan if necessary. These recommendations are reserved for experts.