We have successfully finished our HomeLab project, and the encompassing overview on the project’s activities and achievements is here. The report (available here) gives a summary of the main achievements of the project’s three years, describes its milestones reached, and highlights its most important policy learnings. The report also includes a detailed description of what happened in each pilot, an evaluation of the quantitative survey results and an analysis of sustainability options for each pilot site. Using the experience of the pilots, the report also makes recommendations to promote inclusive and flexible housing and employment policies and integrated service delivery models in the CEE region and promotes the mainstreaming of the Social Rental Enterprise model developed by the project.
On 8 October 2018, Attila Lendvai-Frikkel, HomeLab coordinator for the Veszprém, Hungary pilot project presented the pilot’s experimental scheme for the housing and labour reintegration of former detainees in the Ministry of Interior in Budapest.
The Veszprém branch of Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta (HCSOM) supports the social, housing, and labour market integration of five vulnerable target groups, one of which is former detainees. The period immediately after release from a penitentiary institution is very challenging and risk laden for former inmates. Even though the pertaining legislation (para. 2(a) of Act. CCXL of 2013) stipulates that penitentiary institutions must also support former inmates in social reintegration and adopting a law abiding way of life, limited capacity and resources make full de facto compliance with this requirement extremely complicated. “The former detainee is released at six in the morning. (S)he can then go to the reintegration support centre starting 9 in the morning – but who is going to pick them up at the prison? How will they spend their time before and after the reintegration day centre is open?”, asks Lendvai-Frikkel. In practice, it is himself who picks up the newly released who are open to cooperation; and HCSOM strives to offer them support and consultation throughout their reintegration process.
The Veszprém County detention facility has been well aware of the challenges the newly released face, as well as of their own limited capacities, and the subsequent low effectiveness of existing reintegration support measures. HCSOM has been cooperating with the county detention facility for years, where Lendvai-Frikkel worked together with detainees as well as with the reintegration officer to begin planning life after prison well before a person leaves penitentiary.
Starting early 2018, a Working Group was set up with Lendvai-Frikkel representing social provision and support through HCSOM, which also includes the lead security officer, the lead reintegration officer, the prison chaplain, the inmate psychologist, the probation officer of the County Penitentiary. The HomeLab pilot coordinator reported that in his impression, this formalized cooperation elevates their work to a new and very promising level, establishing long-term, calculable and more systematic cooperation, which began in the framework of HomeLab, as the program provided accommodation and employment services integrated with social work.
On 8 October, Lendvai-Frikkel, HomeLab coordinator on behalf of HCSOM, presented this coordinated approach at the Ministry oft he Interior together with leutenant-colonel Margit Gyarmati, the lead reintegration officer of Veszprém County Prison. The two have shared information on the key conditions of, and challenges to, social reintegration. They emphasized the possibilities of the multi-faceted integrated services provided through HomeLab in bridging many challenging personal and institutional factors, as well as the multi-stakeholder cooperation permitted by the Working Group, and the subsequent “expansion of competency limits”. Lendvai-Frikkel also emphasized HCSOM’s ambition to expand support and prevention services for female former detainees, who face increased risks of stigmatisation and homelessness even within this overall vulnerable target group.
Pictured: Attile Lendvai-Frikkel presents HomeLab project at the Ministry of Interior
On Friday, 21 September HomeLab project was presented at FEANTSA’s 13th Research Conference in Budapest, titled “Social and Economic Integration of Homeless Persons”. The event of FEANTSA – the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless – was hosted by the Central European University.
On Seminar 3, “Integrated Housing and Labour Market Service Delivery in CEE”, project coordinators Hanna Szemző and Eszter Somogyi of MRI presented the main elements of the Social Rental Enterprise model, and discussed how the HomeLab pilots can contribute to the national policy making processes. Márton Csillag, methodology expert of Budapest Institute, gave an overview of project progress and challenges, and presented the evaluation strategy applied in HomeLab, adjusted to the complex target group.
Finally, the leaders of the individual pilot projects presented their greatest achievements and challenges in a Panel Discussion. Implementers also set forth their plans and experiments aiming to ensure long-term sustainability of project results and key achievements. Magda Ruszkowska‐Cieślak represented Habitat for Humanity Warsaw (Poland); Martin Vavrinčík discussed People In Need’s project implementation in Slovakia, Nikola Taragoš introduced Romodrom’s progress over three Czech localities; Vera Kovács presented the case of From Street to Home Association, active in Budapest, Hungary; and László Moravcsik discussed the Veszprém (Hungary) case where the implementer is the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta.
The construction of From Street to Home Association’s first two mobile homes is under way – the work began on 30 March. The Association’s colleagues, together with beneficiaries, professionals and volunteers welcomed the two units, delivered by truck, on the building site in Soroksár, District 23 of Budapest. The photos taken by volunteers show how the units arrived, and the team working on utilities and insulation. [Read more…] about Budapest: mobile homes under construction (photos)
4 clients of PIN living in Kojatice, a village in Eastern-Slovakia, 45 km north from Kosice, moved to West-Slovakian town, Nitra, where they have started to work at a company which produces LG televisions. Another client, unfortunately, failed the entrance exam of the job, due to the lack of reading and writing skills. Social worker of PiN is communicating on a daily basis with the clients and their coordinator at work. The coordinator visits the new workers in the workers’ hostel where they stay and provides them advice as well (e.g. regarding bank accounts).
According to the coordinator in the starting period the work there was some lack in personal hygiene of the clients but otherwise, they were very handy and diligent, thus their boss has been satisfied so far with their work. The company made possible for them to work the same shift. They learnt to speak in better-formulated Slovak, they enjoy their work, feel useful and are happy that there is hot water, toilet and kitchen in the hostel, where they can sleep in their own bed – comfort they cannot enjoy in their illegal dwellings home settlement in Kojatice.
Many other clients of PIN from this village become motivated by the example of the first 4 persons, so they are willing to move for similar job-opportunity, but most of them, especially the generation born between 1984 and 1986 are lacking literacy skills, one of them finished school at 4 grade of elementary school. Though, 4 new clients now receive special training for the job interview.
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. The piece, titled “Integrated Housing Programs for Vulnerable Households in Central-Eastern Europe“, presents how the HomeLab project tests integrated service provision in the fields of housing, employment and social services, in the framework of the Social Rental Enterprise model in the so-called Visegrad Four (V4) countries: Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland.
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