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JSPES, Vol. 46, No. 1-2 (Spring-Summer 2021)
pp. 139-163

Housing the Refugees: Spanish and Norwegian Social Housing Policies Compared

Irene Belmonte-Martin
Universitas Miguel Hernández, Spain
Geir C. Tufte
Ĝstfold University College, Norway

Europe in general continues to have difficulty in absorbing
the ongoing influx of economic migrants from less advanced
Continents. The purpose of this paper is to assess whether
welfare traditions in Spain and Norway can explain differences
between them regarding social housing policies for refugees
at the local community level. Alicante in Spain and Moss in
Norway are our cases, and we have used both documents and
interviews throughout the study. We have found that local
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Alicante play the
dominant role, whereas it is the municipality in this respect in
Moss. These different roles fit perfectly into the welfare programs operated in both countries, while similarities that we have found have its roots in Spain’s and Norway’s obligations according to United Nations conventions. We argue that certain housing challenges for refugees do not relate to welfare traditions, but to some refugees hope to return to their home country (both cases), while others wish to travel to another European country (in the case of Spain).