The HomeLab project in Poland follows work previously done by Habitat Poland on the possibilities of introducing the Social Rental Enterprise (Społeczna Agencja Najmu i Zatrudnienia) and providing in parallel housing and employment services to clients in need. The pilot is in Warsaw and its main goal is to support the integration of services for individuals and families at risk of poverty and social exclusion. More precisely the target group includes homeless persons, foreign migrants, persons with substance abuse problems or families escaping domestic violence. All households are recruited through partner organisations of Habitat Poland (Caritas of Warsaw, The Open Door Association, Association for Legal Intervention, Salvation Army Social Welfare Centre for the Wola District, Monar Association in Wyszków and „Spoza” Society) and will receive support related to housing, employment and social integration – delivered by Habitat Poland in partnership with these organizations. The housing is secured both through the private rental market and through an agreement with the City of Warsaw.
The project is important both as a first experience in Poland to establish an SRE and through this expand the type of housing provisions available to vulnerable groups, and also as a step to develop a new vocation. The social rental specialist will combine the duties of rental administration with the provision of social work (in the form of employment assistance and as a contact person for other services) to the same clients. This vocation is central to establishing new SREs around Poland as it is crucial in helping tenants to maintain and secure their tenure. In the framework of the pilot one social rental specialist will handle 13-15 clients.