Housing and social benefits during the asylum procedure.
From the moment you have applied for asylum you are entitled to social benefits, which you can apply for at the Social Welfare Service.
From the moment you have applied for asylum you are entitled to social benefits, which you can apply for at the Social Welfare Service. Amongst other papers you will need to hand in a verification of your asylum application and a written statement by the Asylum Service that you are without means. A single person is entitled to 150€/month for food, clothing and shoes, additionally 100€/month for rent and another 70€/month for electricity. You should therefore get 320€/month from the Social Welfare Service if you are living in a private accommodation. You should receive more money if you are living together with family members. It is possible that parts of these benefits are given to you in the form of vouchers, which you can only use in certain shops. Usually it takes months until asylum seekers receive the first payment. It also happens that the amount of money varies from month to month or that there are months without payment at all.
In the Republic of Cyprus accommodation for asylum seekers is centralised in the reception center in Kofinou, which can host up to 400 people. Its location 4 km far from the city Kofinou can only be reached by car or on foot. It lacks hygienic standards and access to doctors and health care. As the numbers of asylum applicants exceed the capacities of Kofinou reception center, another emergency accommodation is in use in Kokkinotrimithia where asylum seekers are hosted in tents. If you don’t get a place in any of these accommodations you are supposed to find housing on your own. You can get extra payment from the Social Welfare Service for renting a private apartment but the benefits are rarely covering the costs. Long waiting periods for the first payment of the social benefits make it really difficult to proof financial solvency to landlords. Most refugees are therefore dependent on support by friends and family.