An article, as the first part of a series of posts on the HomeLab project, has been published on the ^Housing Futures blog, which is an international online platform on housing strategies for cities around the globe.
Deinstitutionalization and homelessness prevention were the main topics of a conference co-organized by Commissioner for Human Rights and Habitat for Humanity Poland on 5th October 2017. The conference has been part of the work of the Commission of Experts for Counteracting Homelessness appointed by the Commissioner and gathering experts and practitioners.
The aim of the conference was to share best practices in housing-based methods of overcoming homelessness crisis and call for establishing a country-level system that could spread them. Many progressive local governments and organisations have found its way to create interdisciplinary and integrated support using various resources such as social housing companies (TBS), supported housing and new forms of social assistance.
Habitat Poland presented the model of Social Rental Enterprise based on provision of integrated housing and employment services. SRE differs from other solutions as it provides the housing stock from the private rental market and introduces the role of Social Rental Manager responsible both for technical management and social work with the tenant. The National Director of Habitat Poland presented the origin of the model and positive outcomes that have already been delivered i.e. in Belgium and Great Britain. The Advocacy Manager of Habitat Poland introduced the Polish pilot of Social Rental Enterprise within the HomeLab project and commented on its first outcomes.
As part of the pilot project of HCSOM Veszprém, young people from the disadvantaged village of Tarnabod will be supported to move to prosperous city of Veszprém. As a start of the action, an information day was held in Tarnabod, in the local study hall – which is maintained by HCSOM – at 10:00 AM on 27.07.2017. The event – venue and participants – was organised by a local social worker.
At the first program point, László Moravcsik, the project manager of project HomeLab briefly explained the essence of HomeLab and why they are there.
Attila Lendvai-Frikkel – HomeLab coworker – described to the audience two potencial employers in Veszprém and the work conditions they offer. One was Pannontej – (cheese diary), the other was JOST – a company engaged in the production of lorry parts. A film presenting the jobs to be filled by the future candidates at JOST was also presented. Attila also described the housing and social support possibilities, provided by VESZOL and HCSOM in Veszprém.
The 17 people attending the event, after listing to the presentations, asked questions and expressed concerns about three main topics: location, unfair labour mediator companies and unsecured housing.
The main concerns were:
- Significant geographical distance and too few occasions to visit home – especially for people with large families. For these people, to go home in every two months is not enough, however, young couples and beginners are delighted with that.
- There were precedents, that labour mediator companies terminated the contract right before the end of the 3 months probation. At this point the HomeLab representatives drew the audience’s attention to the fact that Malta has proven itself in several places, including Tarnabod and Veszprém, so no one will be sent home without cause.
- Unsecure housing, which can be solved by workers hostel and – if it is possible – rental apartments.
As next step, the local social worker will asses the number of the people who are interested in this project. Then, a trip will be organised for the candidates to Veszprém, where they can meet the employers and also can visit the town and the accommodation possibilities. The interested candidates will sign the memorandum of understanding, fill in the baseline questionnaire of the project and sign the cooperation agreement. After the formal documentation, they can join the project HomeLab and hopefully move to Veszprém for their new job.
In the framework of the HomeLab project a short, two-day long seminar was hosted by MRI exploring the development and possible application of the SRE model in Hungary and Greece. The Greek partner present was Gabriel Amitsis, Social Security Law Professor at the Athens University of Applied Sciences. Housing Europe facilitated the organisation of the seminar, and Edit Lakatos, the policy officer in charge of facilitating the event was present.
In the framework of the seminar two short field trips were conducted – one to visit the social housing experiment of Veszprém headed by the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta, a HomeLab partner – and one to visit the innovative housing service provided by ULE (From Street to Home Association – another HomeLab partner) that focuses on providing social, housing and employment services to homeless people.
The lessons from the field trips were debated at the premises of MRI, as well as possible ways of cooperation were discussed.
Read more a detailed report on the seminar at Housing Europe’s site
Housing Europe, a member of HomeLab’s Dissemination Board, recently informed housing researchers and professionals about the project in an article published on its website. Launched on October 1st, 2016 the “HomeLab – Integrated Housing and Labour Services in the Social Rental Enterprise model” is a project supported by the European Union’s Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (”EaSI”). Carried out under the leadership of Metropolitan Research Institute (MRI), the project aims at promoting the social and labour market integration of vulnerable groups through the horizontal integration of individualised case handling in employment, housing and social support, in the framework of implementing the Social Rental Enterprise (SRE) model.
The first Consortium meeting of the HomeLab project, hosted by Habitat For Humanity Poland, was held on the 27th and 28th of April, 2017 in Warsaw.The meeting was attended by all the HomeLAb consortium partners and addressed a large number of topics to prepare the launch of the pilot projects and the monitoring process based on the results of the first six month of planning.
Main topics of the meeting were:
- presentation of the Pilot projects (see below)
- introduction of Dissemination Board members
- evaluation process
- integrated services delivery
A field-trip was also organised to the community rehabilitation center of Monar Foundation in Wyszkow. The center was renovated in cooperation with Habitat For Humanity Poland. Clients of the center constitute one of the target groups of the HomeLab project.