Housing for Ukrainian Refugees in Athens

Housing Ukrainian Refugees in Athens

With the conflict in Ukraine now in its second year, assisting refugees has become a daily concern. Europe and the rest of the free world were overwhelmed by the needs of Ukrainians forced to leave their homeland due to the conflict foisted upon them. 

In addition to the absolute necessities of life, housing is a major concern for displaced refugees. Even though the need is extensive, Greater Europe Mission’s partners have been hard at work, doing everything within their ability to meet the housing needs of Ukrainian refugees. 

The Exarchia church in Athens, one such partner, has now finished the remodeling project of five apartments in the lower level of the church to house Ukrainian refugees. They continue to provide short term shelter for needy families. 

Housing Ukrainian Refugees in Athens

To provide emergency housing to refugees, the church had the vision for what it is calling “The Integration House.” By renovating the building with lower-level apartments, the church can house Ukrainian families for up to six months—or even longer, if necessary. 

The renovations of the apartments concluded at the end of January. The Exarchia congregation put on a special service to celebrate the completion of the Integration House. 

A project of this nature requires vision as well as human and material resources. Renovations at the church were completed in conjunction with Ukrainian pastors, while volunteers from the church oversaw the project. Ukrainian pastor Vitaliy Fomin, who moved to Athens last year at the start of the conflict, has assisted the church in finding Ukrainian families who can integrate quickly and benefit the most from housing assistance. 

Pastor Vitaliy is now well-connected with several churches in Athens, visiting and helping Ukrainian refugee programs in the area. In this way he has been able to meet several families in urgent need of housing. Leaders of the Exarchia church remarked, “The cooperation with Vitaliy has been great for our project, so far. By February of this year, other pastors from Ukraine have been able to visit Athens and stay for two months in order to help with our project.” 

During the past few months, the church has also initiated a food bank to provide immediate care for the refugees. 

The vision of the church is not just to provide short-term needs of refugees, worthy as that is. Leaders also want to involve the church community in running the house project. 

Housing Ukrainian Refugees in Athens

As Greater Europe Mission continues to partner with the Exarchia church and others like it, two main areas of need remain. First, the provision of funds to run the house, and the hiring part-time help to assist in overseeing the project. 

Please pray for the continued work of the Exarchia church. Pray that they would have more resources to provide short- and perhaps long-term help for Ukrainian families in need. 

About the author: Jesse Northcutt has served with GEM since 1983. In 2023, Jesse and his wife Joyce retired from GEM and continue to live and serve in Ireland.