Mayor: Alexis Kalokairinos
Heraklion is the largest urban center of Crete, the capital of the Region and the financial center of the island. The city is the commercial and scientific center of the island. It holds a strategic geopolitical position in the southeastern Mediterranean basin, connecting three continents and many different cultures.
The Municipality of Heraklion is administratively part of the Decentralized Administration of Crete. It is also the administrative center of the Region of Crete and the seat of the Archdiocese of Crete. Heraklion covers an area of 244,613 square kilometers and is the 4th largest municipality in the country with a population of 179,302 inhabitants, according to the latest census. The population of the city has increased in the last twenty years (1981-2001) by about 30%, while it is expected to increase by 20% by 2021. This significant population increase transformed it from a purely urban to an urban-rural Municipality.
According to Article 2 of Law 3852/2010 “New Architecture of Local Government and Decentralized Administration – Kallikratis Program” for the formation of municipalities and Law 4555/2019 for the reform of the institutional framework of Local Government – Deepening of Democracy – Enhancement of Participation – Improvement of the development operation of the Local Authorities. (program “CLOSED I”) the Municipality of Heraklion consists of Municipal Units (D.E.) and Communities.
The Municipality has developed an extensive network of social structures and services aiming to:
The Municipality of Heraklion provides services and implements social programs through the Deputy Mayor for Social Services and the Directorate of Social Development, the Municipal Public Benefit Enterprise (DI.K.E.I.), the Municipal Organization of Preschool Education and Sports, and the Center for the Prevention of Addictions. The Directorate of Social Development is responsible for the planning and implementation of social policy, gender equality policies as well as for the protection and promotion of public health in the area of the Municipality, by taking appropriate measures and regulating the relevant activities.
The Municipality of Heraklion actively participates in networks at national and local level. It joined the Cities Network for Integration in the framework of coordinated actions regarding the refugee issue at local and national level, and has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Development Heraklion AAE OTA and the UNHCR. It joined the ADMin4all – Phase II Program of IOM. In the context of promoting cooperation among municipal services, public services and other structures, training seminars were organized for the staff working with refugees and migrants. The seminars were implemented by UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, BABEL Day Center and the NGO Symβiosis.
Heraklion holds a strategic geopolitical position in the southeastern Mediterranean basin, connecting three continents and many different cultures.
The Migrant Integration Center (KEM) is a Branch of the Central Structure of a Community Center, which includes the Roma Branch. The KEM has the following objectives:
A. Information and advisory support on migrant integration issues
B. Cooperation and referral of requests to other relevant structures, services and bodies.
KEM aims at the following categories of beneficiaries:
The Migrant & Refugee Integration Council (SEMP) serves as a consultation body on migration and refugee issues and supports the integration of third-country nationals in the local community.
From 2012 until today, SEMP has developed a network of partners implementing information and awareness-raising actions of the local community on issues of migrant integration, developing cooperation with local agencies & services as well as with associations of migrant communities.MORE (Greek)
The program is implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with the support of the Greek government and it is funded by the European Commission.
The “EDUCATIONAL – DEVELOPMENT AGENCY NAVIGATOR” is the implementing body of the HELIOS program for the Region of Crete. Through the HELIOS program, IOM aims to promote the integration of the beneficiaries of international protection in Greek society through various initiatives, including integration classes, support in accommodation, support for the integration in the labor market, follow–up in integration procedures, and raising awareness among local communities.MORE
The main objective of the Social Pharmacy is to promote social inclusion and the fight against poverty and all forms of discrimination, and in particular to improve access to affordable, sustainable and high-quality services, including health services and community-based social services.
In addition, the Social Pharmacy promotes access for people with disabilities to health and welfare services and provides beneficiaries in need with free medicines, medical supplies and parapharmaceuticals.MORE (Greek)
The Municipal Medical and Social Center provides a variety of services to all residents of Heraklion.
It aims at:
The Shelter for Women hosts women victims of gender-based violence and multiple discrimination, along with their children, up to the age of 18 in the case of girls, and 12 years, in the case of boys.
Women and their children can be accommodated for up to 3 months and depending on the case, their stay can be extended. The Women’s Shelter has the capacity to accommodate twenty women and their children and operates on a 24-hour basis.
The provision of services is free from any form of prejudice or discrimination based on nationality, sex, age, race or religion.MORE (Greek)
The Municipality of Heraklion, as a Beneficiary and Coordinator, implements the “REINTEGRATION” Project within the framework of the National Program “Housing and Work for the Homeless”.
The goals of the program are the following:
The project is currently supporting 60 people.MORE (Greek)
The Municipal Organization of Preschool Education, Care and Mass Sports includes a pre-school department and a sports department.MORE
KESAN is a non-Profit Company and operates in collaboration with the Organization Against Drugs (OKANA), with the aim of preventing addictions and promoting psychosocial health in the local community. The ultimate goal is to ensure better quality of life for all.MORE (Greek)
The Municipality of Heraklion, through the Directorate of Education, Culture & Youth, operates the Social Coaching School providing free education to high school students, whose families are facing financial difficulties.
During the school year 2020-2021, five classes operated in the area of the Municipality of Heraklion. There was also a Greek language course for refugee children, providing free education to high school students, whose families are facing financial difficulties, in cooperation with the ESTIA program.MORE (Greek)
A Social Grocery & a Social Soup Kitchen service are operating with the support of Kalokairinos Foundation in partnership with the Municipality of Heraklion.MORE (Greek)
The Municipality of Heraklion participated as a Partner – Pilot city in the European Program AMARE-EU, with the aim of piloting a tool to identify the needs of the city in issues such as the development of a culture of prevention, citizen participation and raising public awareness, multiculturalism, risk reduction and mitigating the effects of disasters on local communities by enhancing the integration of the non-native citizens into Civil Protection issues.MORE (Greek)
In 2018, the European program of the Deputy Mayors of Sports and Social Policy (in collaboration with the Development Agency of Heraklion) was implemented.
The aim of “FIT for ALL” was to promote the social integration of refugees through social and intercultural interaction through sports activities, thus contributing to equal treatment & opportunities for all and tackling racism and xenophobia.MORE (Greek)
The “An-Oiko” project was implemented by the Municipality of Heraklion in collaboration with the Association of Members of Women’s clubs of Heraklion and the Prefecture of Heraklion and the Labor Center of Heraklion.
The project had the following objectives:
A total of 36 beneficiaries were supported through the Project from 2015 until the end of (2019).MORE (Greek)