Country Report: Housing Last updated: 16/04/21



Beneficiaries of international protection are allowed to stay in the centres for 2 months after being served with the positive decision.[1]

The state does not provide housing. There is a general lack of social housing to nationals as well, so the situation of beneficiaries is difficult in this regard. [2] General conditions to obtain housing under the law are hard to fullfill for beficiairies because of their relatively short stay in Poland and mobility.[3] Some municipalities provide singular flats annually, dedicated for beneficiaires e.g.: 5 in Warsaw, 4 in Lublin, 4 in Gdansk. Within the 12-month period of Individual Integration Programme (IPI), individuals may receive a financial benefit to pay for a flat. Yet, according to social assistants in the Centre for Social Assistance in Wolomin, (suburbs of Warsaw) the owners are not willing to rent flats to refugees and often demand higher fees.[4]

Many NGOs are of the opinion that beneficiaries of international protection face homelessness and destitution in Poland.[5] Some researchers stress that although there is no data on the number of homeless beneficiaries of international protection, there is a high risk that the number is substantial.[6] There is a study in which episodes of homelessness or severe housing conditions were reported in the period between living in the reception centre and benefitting from integration programme or after the integration assistance ended.[7] The Foundation Ocalenie, running a project called “Welcome home”, promoting private sponsoring for beneficiaries, within which it helped 53 beneficiaries (as of August 2019) in i.a. renting a flat in Warsaw, informs that more than 25% beneficiaries in Poland can face homelessness. The main obstacles to find a flat are high prices and discrimination.[8] As another study shows, generally a negative narrative about refugees is prevalent in the public discourse, which leads to a systematic growth of the negative attitudes towards refugees in Poland. The lack of knowledge about the assistance offered to refugees in Poland reinforces stereotypical ideas about welfare support accompanied with the complete passivity and demanding nature of the refugees.[9]

According to the report from 2020, many beneficiaries still experience homelessness. Stereotypes and negative attitude towards foreigners prevail. Finding accommodation for large families is even more challenging. IPI is not tailored to tackle these problems.[10]

Another extensive study on integration from 2020 shows that housing is one of the major issues for both asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection in Poland. Applicants who had lived outside the facilities run by the Office for Foreigners during the procedure, seem to be better prepared for the numerous challenges, such as finding adequate housing for a reasonable price. The shortage of affordable housing makes the situation of persons with international protection particularly difficult. Consequently, inadequate quality of housing results in slowing down the process of adaptation of foreigners to the new socio-cultural conditions of the host country, and may have a negative impact on their physical and mental health.[11] The difficulty of finding adequate and affordable housing is one of the important reasons why some beneficiaries of international protection decide to leave Poland and search for better living conditions in the countries of Western Europe where there might be denser diaspora and other support networks.[12]

[1]  Article 74(1)2 Law on Protecion.

[2] Maryla Koss-Goryszewska ‘Mieszkalnictwo’ in A. Górska, M. Koss-Goryszewska, J. Kucharczyk (eds), W stronę krajowego mechanizmu ewaluacji integracji: Diagnoza sytuacji beneficjentów ochrony międzynarodowej w Polsce (Instutut Spraw Publicznych 2019), available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/2w3NkBS, 27.

[3]  Ibidem, 29.

[4] Rzeczpospolita, ‘Bez mieszkań dla uchodźców’, 13 October 2015, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/2lQYYJS.

[5] Wyborcza, ‘Uchodźcy w Polsce mieszkają w squatach i ruderach. Fundacja szuka dla nich tanich mieszkań’, 10 November 2016, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/2kqrrpE. There was an extended research on this for UNHCR in 2013, available at: http://bit.ly/2kKwLAl.

[6] Maryla Koss-Goryszewska ‘Mieszkalnictwo’ in A. Górska, M. Koss-Goryszewska, J. Kucharczyk (eds), W stronę krajowego machanizmu ewaluacji integracji: Diagnoza sytuacji beneficjentów ochrony międzynarodowej w Polsce (Instutut Spraw Publicznych 2019), available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/2w3NkBS, 30.

[7] Lukasiewicz, K., ‘Exile to Poverty: Policies and Poverty Among Refugees in Poland’, International Migration Vol. 55 (6) 2017, 63.

[8]  Information available at: https://bit.ly/3d9U426.

[9]  B. Łaciak, J. Seges Frelak ‘The wages of fear. Attitudes towards refugees and migrants in Poland’, Foundation Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw 2018, available at: http://bit.ly/32oTsAQ.

[10]  NGOs alternative report to the government report on implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, submitted to UNICEF, August 2020, available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/3s3hZXK.

[11] K. Sobczak-Szelc, M. Pachocka, K. Pędziwiatr, J. Szałańska, ‘Integration Policies, Practices and Responses. Poland – Country Report’, Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond Project (#770564, Horizon2020), available at: http://bit.ly/3bfjTxL, p. 11.

[12]  Ibidem, p. 134.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation