Austria: NGOs see many shortcomings in basic asylum care System


According to Austrian Media reports on 29th April that: Basic care system for refugees is 20 years old and what was once ground-breaking has now become ‘inadequate care’. This was stated by Erich Fenninger, Managing Director of Volkshilfe, at a joint press conference of the leading NGOs in the asylum sector on Monday morning. There is a lack of adequate accommodation for vulnerable groups, German courses, preventative capacities, an appropriate care ratio and affordable transport for the refugees.
Caritas, Diakonie, the Red Cross and Volkshilfe stated that there was also a lack of coordination between federal and regional authorities. For example, the federal care agency did not know how the places in the provinces were organised, criticised Diakonie Director Maria Katharina Moser. The disabled people end up in accommodation that is not barrier-free.

Moser is particularly critical of the care provided to unaccompanied minors. They are currently often housed for months in large federal care centres without appropriate age care. She said, there should be clearing houses in future in accordance with the standards of child and youth welfare, from where the young people would be taken to suitable state-run accommodation. In addition, each person concerned should be provided with a person authorised to take care of hem or her.

A permanent problem in basic care is that there are a few accommodations available; currently, only Vienna fulfils the quota once again. It always becomes critical when there is a large movement of refugees. Caritas Secretary General Anna Parr insisted on creating sufficient preventative capacities – not just in traditional care, but also for specific groups such as children and people with disabilities. In this regard, Fenninger reiterated the better financial commitments by the federal government. The NGOs are happy to look after shelters, but this must also be financially feasible.
The Volkshilfe MD urged for a better care ratio as currently one mobile carer has to look after 140 refugees. This needs to be at least halved.

’Gerry Foitik, the Federal Rescue Commander of the Red Cross, stressed the need to provide people in all regions of the country with sufficient German courses. At the same time, there is a need for an earlier perspective on what qualifications these refugees have or what training they could continue here, as ‘we urgently need many of these talented people.’

The Caritas Secretary General called for the nationwide roll-out of a model practised in Vorarlberg, according to which social welfare recipients can use all public transport for 19 euros per month.