A German couple have started a website to match refugees with roommates in Germany and Austria to create a “more human culture of welcoming refugees”.
Marieke Geiling, 28, and her boyfriend Jonas Kakoschke, 31, launched Refugees Welcome to match refugees and asylum seekers with shared flats or other “normal” housing situations so that migrants would not have to live in mass accommodation.
After a shared flat or house signs up to the website, available in English and German, they will then be connected to a refugee organisation who will put them in touch with a person who has fled to their city.
Once a flatmate has been placed, Refugees Welcome with then help with financing rent costs to cover their stay.
“We are convinced that refugees should not be stigmatized and excluded by being housed in mass accommodations,” Refugees Welcome states on its homepage.
“Instead, we should offer them a warm welcome.”
They are currently processing more than 400 applications, reports NPR.
Geiling and Kakoschke were the first to open up their flat for the cause, welcoming a 39-year-old asylum seeker from Mali last December.
World Press Photo winners 2014
World Press Photo winners 2014
1/20 1st prize in the General News Single category by Sergei Ilnitsky (Russia)
A kitchen table after a mortar attack in downtown Donetsk, Ukraine
2/20 2nd prize in the Spot News Stories category by Jerome Sessini (France)
An Orthodox priest blessing the protesters on a barricade in Kiev, Ukraine
3/20 2nd Prize in Contemporrary Issues Singles category by Ronghui Chen (China)
A worker at a Christmas decoration factory, in China
4/20 1st prize in the Portraits Singles category by Raphaela Rosella (Australia)
Laurinda waiting in her purple dress for the bus that will take her to Sunday School in Moree, New South Wales
5/20 1st prize in the Spot News Single category by Bulent Kilic (Turkey)
A young girl pictured after she was wounded during clashes between riot-police and protesters after the funeral of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy who died from injuries suffered during last year's anti-government protests, in Istanbul, Turkey
6/20 1st prize in the Nature Singles category by Yongzhi Chu (China)
A monkey being trained for the circus cowering as its trainer approaches
7/20 World Press Photo of the Year 2014 by Mads Nissen (Denmark)
Jonathan Jacques Louis, 21, and Alexander Semyonov, 25, a gay couple during an intimate moment in St. Petersburg, Russia
8/20 2nd Prize in Daily Life Stories category by Sarker Protick (Bangladesh)
John wearing his grandson's bowler hat in Dhaka, Bangladesh
9/20 2nd prize in the General News Single category by Massimo Sestini (Italy)
Shipwrecked people are rescued, aboard a boat 20 miles north of Libya, by a frigate of the Italian navy on June 7, 2014. After hundreds of men, women and children had drowned in 2013 off the coast of Sicily and Malta, the Italian government put its navy to work under a campaign called "Mare Nostrum" rescuing refugees at sea
10/20 1st prize in the General News Stories category by Pete Muller (USA)
Medical staff at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center escort a man in the throes of Ebola-induced delirium back into the isolation ward from which he escaped in Hastings, Sierra Leone
11/20 2nd Prize in Nature Singles category by Ami Vitale (USA)
A group of young Samburu warriors encounter a rhino for the first time in their lives in Lewa Downs, Northern Kenya. Most people in Kenya never get the opportunity to see the wildlife that exists literally in their own backyard
12/20 2nd Prize Prize in Daily Life Singles category by Asa Sjostrom (Sweden)
Twin Brothers Igor and Arthur celebrating their birthday in an orphanage, in Baroncea, Moldova
13/20 3rd Prize in Portrait Stories category by Paolo Verzone (Italy)
A cadet in the Koninklijke Militaire Academie (The Royal Military Academy) located in Breda, The Netherlands
14/20 1st prize in the Long-Term Projects category by Darcy Padilla (USA)
Image from the project entitled 'Family Love 1993-2014 - The Julie Project'
15/20 2nd prize in the General News Stories category by Glenna Gordon (USA)
School uniforms belonging to three of the nearly 300 girls kidnapped from a remote school dormitory in Northern Nigeria by Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group
16/20 3rd Prize in Contemporary Issues Stories category by Tomas van Houtryve (Belgium)
Students seen in a schoolyard in El Dorado County, California
17/20 1st prize in the Nature Stories category by Anand Varma (USA)
'When spores of the fungus land on an ant, they penetrate its exoskeleton and enter its brain, compelling the host to leave its normal habitat on the forest floor and scale a nearby tree. Filled to bursting with fungus, the dying ant fastens itself to a leaf or another surface. Fungal stalks burst from the ant's husk and rain spores onto ants below to begin the process again' in Manaus, Brazil
18/20 2nd Prize in Sports Stories category by Sergei Ilnitsky (Russia)
Ski jumper Marinus Kraus of Germany in action during the qualifying round of the HS134 FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Nizhny Tagil, Russia
19/20 2nd prize in the Sports Singles category by Al Bello (USA)
Odell Beckham of the New York Giants making a one-handed touchdown catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA
20/20 1st prize in the Sports Singles category by Bao Tailiang (China)
Argentina player Lionel Messi looks at the World Cup trophy during the final celebrations at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Argentina were defeated by Germany in the final
As Geiling is teaching a course in Cairo for most of this year they opened her room up to the asylum seeker, who is waiting for a work permit to be granted, and finance his room through donations to cover his share of rent and utilities.
In 2014 Germany received around 200,000 asylum applications, up from 127,000 in 2013. Many of the migrants are from Muslim countries, fleeing conflicts such as Syria.
The increasing number is putting a strain on refugee resources in the country, with many refugees staying in the mass accommodation Refugees Welcome describes such as old schools and army barracks.
German authorities in the western town of Schwerte were criticised earlier this year for suggesting that 21 asylum seekers be housed in barracks at Buchenwald, a Nazi concentration camp.Reuse content