At the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum in Stuttgart on 23-24 October 2018, Stuttgart presented its model for integrating refugees. The focus is on a holistic approach based on integration of services made accessible and available to refugees while catering for their individual needs for integration in the city.
Stuttgart's deputy mayor for social affairs and integration, Werner Wölfle, explains the integration model:
“Stuttgart is a city of integration. People from over 170 nations live amongst each other in our city, some of whom have been here for many decades. Stuttgart is a diverse and open-minded city that fosters a genuine welcoming culture and cares about treating refugees in a humane way. Stuttgart is currently home to approximately 10,000 refugees. This number reflects 10,000 life stories, 10,000 destinies and 10,000 hopes. For this reason, it is important to us to make each and every one of you feel welcome in our city.
We live here together, in a city that we call home and that those who have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge here might one day also call home. To enable us to live together in harmony, we all need to show mutual respect and understanding.
Those who come to us in distress need help and support, which is why we in Stuttgart do everything we can to house refugees in a humane way. This requires a resourceful approach to refugee housing on the part of the city and the many social organisations, as well as a great deal of civic involvement. More than 2,500 volunteers invest their time, energy, heart and soul into helping refugees in Stuttgart. They do a great job.
As for our refugee policy, the state capital of Stuttgart follows the so-called "Stuttgart Way", which is a special strategy characterised by various overlapping measures: Refugees are housed in the suburbs, in all districts where possible, and live in newly built accommodation as well as rented or city-owned properties. Wherever possible, we try to avoid mass accommodation in Stuttgart.
Independent sponsors take care of the refugees' welfare. Our designated on-site representatives are responsible for the refugees' social and educational welfare so that people receive the best possible support in the most effective way. This work is supported throughout the city by many local volunteers, who form circles of friends to offer assistance to refugees, including before they have secured accommodation (where a circle is already established). Stuttgart attaches great importance to considering the specific needs of the different refugee groups and making sure that they receive basic services in a timely and demand-driven way.
The city is ahead of the game nationally when it comes to offering language courses for every refugee as soon as possible, which we do by using our own municipal resources. Language courses are combined with various measures designed to provide an insight into our working world.
The "Stuttgart Way" means that everyone who lives here can call Stuttgart home. We are pro-integration and anti-discrimination.”
You can watch a video explaining the Stuttgart way of integrating refugees here: https://fluechtlinge.stuttgart.de/stuttgarter-weg You can scroll down for the English version.