Photo. Laying the Foundation Stone of the Marienfelde Refugee Center, July 30, 1952. The Senator for Social Affairs, Otto Bach, is placing the deed in the foundation stone.
© Landesarchiv Berlin

The International Coalition

Temporary Housing for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Since December 1, 2010, the former refugee center located at Marienfelder Allee 66/80 has served as temporary housing for refugees and asylum seekers from many nations, including Serbia, the Russian Federation, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Lebanon, and others.

The individuals living in Marienfelde are seeking asylum in Germany because they no longer wish to live under the current conditions in their native countries. Upon application for asylum, these individuals were assigned to Berlin under the conditions of the Königsteiner Accord (Berlin’s quota lies at 5% of all asylum seekers in Germany). In order for an application for asylum to be approved, applicants must provide evidence of political, cultural, or religious persecution in their home country.

Before moving into the temporary housing unit in Marienfelde, asylum seekers have usually spent the previous three months living in a preliminary acceptance facility in Lichtenberg, from which they were then assigned to one of the refugee centers in Berlin. Marienfelde can accomodate up to 500 people in 1-3 room apartments. Residents include single individuals, couples, and families; half of the residents are under 18 years of age.

Social workers and child care professionals advise and support the refugees in various areas, for example by organizing German language courses, providing recommendations for doctors or lawyers, assisting with an apartment search, offering financial or debt counseling, or explaining residency regulations. Assistance is also provided for school enrollment. Grammar school children who do not yet speak German receive instruction at the refugee center itself, in one of two classes conducted by teachers from neighboring schools. After-school care is also provided on the center’s grounds. Secondary school students who lack proficiency in the German language attend neighboring schools, and receive appropriate language instruction in extra remedial classes.

Additional offerings for the residents of Marienfelde include: child care for children under 6, provided by a child care professional from the International Coalition; German language courses; social groups for girls, women, and boys; and a toymobile. There are playgrounds and sport fields on the grounds, and the buildings contain laundry rooms with washers, dryers, and donated clothing. In addition to these services, residents have the opportunity to take part in excursions to various sites in Berlin in order to get better acquainted with the German culture and lifestyle.

The length of residency at Marienfelde can last anywhere between 6 and 12 months, depending on the speed of application processing as well as housing availability. In accordance with the law outlining benefits accorded to asylum seekers, residents receive €220.00 a month. This amount is used to cover groceries, clothing, toiletries, transportation, etc. Upon acceptance of their application for asylum, individuals usually move into their own apartments in Berlin or in another German city relatively quickly. In the event that their application is rejected, applicants can either appeal the decision in order to provide additional evidence in support of their application, or they return to their homeland.

The International Coalition (Der Internationale Bund e.V.)

The International Coalition, by order of the state of Berlin, operates the Temporary Housing Center at Marienfelde and provides advising services and other supports for the residents. The Coalition and its agency for youth services, social work, and education, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, are a national non-profit organization with approximately 12,000 employees.

In Berlin, the International Coalition organizes day care facilities, and provides vocational education and stationary as well as mobile facilities for homeless individuals, refugees, asylum seekers, and ethnic German emigrants.

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Contact

For more information about the Temporary Housing Center Marienfelde, please contact:

Uta Sternal
Internationaler Bund e.V.
Marienfelder Allee 66/80
12277 Berlin

Telephone: +49 30 457977700

Additional information can also be found at www.internationaler-bund.de.