Innovative Best Practices



Name of the Practice

Haus AWAT - Betreute Wohnintegration von Flüchtlingen
[House AWAT - Sheltered housing integration of refugees]


Labour Market Integration, Social Integration, Housing Integration

Country - Area/Region

Austria, 1060 Vienna

Geographical Coverage

Haus AWAT is physically present and active at Gumpendorfer Straße in the 6th district of Vienna. Public awareness of the initiative can be found on district/local, city/regional as well as Austrian/national level.


2017-2020 (renegotiation of rental contract until 2023 is possible)

Level of the practice

Local, Regional, National

Type of activity

Mixed (Public and Private)

Partnership implementing the initiative

AWAT is operated by Hilfswerk Vienna. The umbrella organisation of Hilfswerk Austria is called “Hilfswerk Österreich” and it is one of the biggest providers of social services (e.g. elderly care, services for homeless, childminders) in Austria. Employees at AWAT consist of social workers who are employed by Hilfswerk, as well as voluntaries with and without refugee backgrounds. For the business area at the ground floor (barber shop), AWAT collaborates with proficient to hire employees and to train apprentices, a proficient barista who runs the café and educates refugees as baristas, and taylormen/taylorwomen for the upcycling shop. The building of AWAT is owned by a private landlord with a refugee background on his own. Financial support is provided for 1) homeless aid and 2) refugee aid by the Vienna Social Fund, a sub-agency of City of Vienna. For training programmes, AWAT is collaborating with the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS) and Wiener ArbeitnehmerInnen Förderungsfonds (Waff). Political support can be found at district level: the district mayor is supporting AWAT as a proponent in public debates.

Contents of the practice

Haus AWAT (Kurdish name for “hope/whish”) provides sheltered housing for asylum seekers in the national programme of provision with basic supplies as well as dwelling places for recognized refugees. Temporary residents in Haus AWAT incorporate single male, female, LGBTQI as well as families. In addition to housing, the ground floor is used as a business zone that opens up to the public/neighbourhood. It consists of a coffee bar, a barber shop as well as of a workshop area for tailoring and upcycling. The rooftop as well as the event room in the upper level can be used for community events free of charge. The target groups of AWAT are asylum seekers, refugees as well as the neighbourhood / host society, to foster:

- Housing integration through temporary housing for asylum seekers and refugees

- Housing integration through support services to find permanent housing for refugees

- Labour market integration through training programmes and apprenticeships in the AWAT businesses

- Labour market integration through support service in education recognition

- Social integration by offering an “open house” to the neighbourhood and initiatives outside of Haus AWAT..

Evaluation of the practice

Results achieved are: temporary sheltered housing for asylum seekers and refugees, a business zone with training and education programmes, community / neighbourhood interaction, multi-level stakeholder network, a funding scheme consisting of public funds as well as private donations, the sustainable transition to permanent housing in private sector, capacity building of refugees concerning basics of self-sustainability (work, laws, education, finances, participation). Innovations can be found through the combination of housing and labour market integration as well as social integration in one physical & social space, the provision of a “space of encounter” for newcomers and the host society, the strong institutional support by Hilfswerk and Social Funds Vienna and the strong network consisting of individuals, civic initiatives (e.g. breakfast in the park), local institutions (e.g. Gebietsbetreuung) and public actors (e.g. district government). Challenges and constraints encountered are: financial constraints addressed by a mix of public funding supporting the provision with basic supplies as well as services for homeless aid, “target group” of asylum seekers and refugees becomes smaller due to national anti-immigration policies and limited rent contract (in a gentrifying neighbourhood).

Adaptability/Replicability to other contexts

In general, the AWAT house could be implemented in other Viennese districts as well as other cities across the country. However, Hilfswerk as the operator of Haus AWAT, does not pursue the strategic goal to expand refugee integration programmes. The overall idea of a mix of housing, business and community spaces is generally replicable. However, the integration of training programmes as well as the financing of housing for asylum seekers and refugees depends heavily of the local/national context of institutions, available public funds as well as policies (e.g. with regard to education/labour market programmes). 


AWAT combines a mixed-domain approach to refugee integration in a unique manner: housing, labour market access and social integration. This project is based on a multi-level network including public actors, policymakers as well as private initiatives. In theory, this practice would be transferable and scalable. However, due to stable refugee numbers, there is (currently) no need to replicate this practice.

Related Web site(s) of the practice

Related reports and resources developed by the practice

Contact Details

Mag.a Christina Schilling

Flüchtlings- und Wohnungslosenhilfe

Wiener Hilfswerk

Gumpendorfer Straße 65, 1060 Wien

T: +43 1 512 36 61 4411; M: +43 664 618 94 45




ZVR: 814134410 | UID-Nr.: ATU 53113107