UNIVERSIDADE CATÓLICA PORTUGUESA FACULDADE DE CIÊNCIAS HUMANAS. Social Work Degree. School Year /14 (1st Semester)

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1 UNIVERSIDADE CATÓLICA PORTUGUESA FACULDADE DE CIÊNCIAS HUMANAS Social Work Degree School Year /14 (1st Semester) Preliminary Report Erasmus I.P. Professors: Inês Amaro Francisco Branco Students: Ana Arrais Inês Cruz Marta Silva Margarida Ramos Saeda Abdelnour Lisbon, January of 2014

2 Index 1. Current Situation 2. Current Policies 3. Reflexive Conclusion 4. Bibliography 5. Anexes 2

3 1. Current Situation The United Nations sees a homeless person as someone without a shelter and next to nonexisting living conditions. This individual carries his possessions with him/her wondering around until a place to sleep is found. Benches, doorways, piers or train stations are some examples of the most common locations used by people in need. Homelessness might even include situations of living in temporary, insecure or poor-quality housing. There is a rise on the number of homeless people and the economic crisis felt throughout Europe plays a big role in this phenomenon. According to the National Statistics Institute, there are about 696 homeless people across Portugal. We believe this result is inaccurate and below the real scenario. More extensive and accurate researches must be conducted and new and better policies must be taken without taking too much into account the numbers found. It s quite impossible to determine every single homeless person in a country, moreover when realities change on a daily basis, but the tools must be given in order to solve, or at least try, the problem. (INE, 2013) There is also a lack of data concerning people at risk of losing their home. The next best this team found relates to levels of unemployment but lack of job doesn t necessarily mean possibility of losing one s home and the number of people that receive some kind of help. The term social housing refers to households that the state puts for sale to families or individuals that earn below a certain income as well as measures related to specific groups which are targeted by housing and urban renewal programs. Different initiatives mean different kinds of criteria for eligibility and priority to access to social housing. For example, PER gives priority to people living in shady neighborhoods in big metropolitan urban areas, while PROHABITA favors people whose income is lower than three annual minimum salaries, that do not own any dwelling in national territory and that are not beneficiary of any kind of public financial support for housing purposes. This area represents 3, 3 % of the national housing stock. In 2011 there were 3129 families receiving this kind of help, 49 % more than in Most individuals are women and elderly people. The National Statistics Institute shows that, in 2012, there were about 118 thousand social housing households where 95, 5 % were rented and 4, 1 % were absolutely free. In the same year there were over 25, 6 thousand requests for help in this matter, half of which in Lisbon. (INE, 2013) 3

4 The stipulated monthly rent in social housing is 60 in all of Portugal with the exception of Madeira where there is an increase of 11 to that amount. The state earned an average of 81 million euros and spends about 57 million euros on these projects. 4

5 2. Current Policies The reference to social policies to prevent and tackle homelessness, requires knowledge and understanding of the type of constitution of our country, such as the declaration of human rights and the values and principles associated with them. Nowadays we can detect some specific national measures which are designed to solve the problem at hand: National Strategy for the Integration of Persons Homelessness (2009 ) ; RSI ; Plano de emergência social; National Action Plan for Inclusion. National Strategy for the Integration of Persons Homelessness (2009) This strategy is based on a set of guiding principles, among which are: «Consecration of citizenship rights ; Promotion of equal opportunities and gender; Date knowledge of the size and nature of the phenomenon that sustains development strategies ; Recognition of the complexity and multidimensionality of the phenomenon and the consequent need for adaptation and persistence in implementing measures ; Definition and implementation of measures for prevention, intervention and monitoring ; Accountability and mobilization of all public and private entities for an integrated and consistent intervention ; Recognition and adaptation to local circumstances ; Guarantee intervention quality person centered over whole process of supporting and monitoring ; Proactive participation and promoting empowerment of people homeless in all levels of the social inclusion process; Education and community mobilization ; 5

6 Process monitoring and evaluation of the results of the implementation of strategy.» (ISS, 2006) This strategy intervenes in different levels, which are: the prevention; Intervention in street situations and monitoring situations. The intervention model: «It involves a multidimensional approach in making the diagnosis and monitoring of situations of specific cases, with drawing of a life project with a view to inclusion and empowerment to face support services, wherever possible, built on the relationship between the user and the case manager whose mutual relationship is privilege.» (ISS, 2006) After flagging a situation, or more, a diagnosis is made the same, and when considerer necessary, should be made a core planning and intervention homelessness. «The establishment of this Center is celebrated through protocol and legitimized by the Plenary of the Local Council of Social Action» (ISS, 2006). These cores are made of teams that use methodologies appropriate to the circumstances, having a local partner for homelessness strategy, which will give each situation, a technical reference, we will refer to a temporary accommodation, always continuing to monitor the technical process and developing an individual plan of insertion. This process of monitoring requires, what it s called: «The signaling entities» (ISS, 2006), which are: Teams of street; Security Forces ( PSP, GNR ); LNES; Local emergency teams; Health services; Other social care services; Emergency Center; Teams of specialized street; Interlocutor for Local Homelessness Strategy. Social Integration Income (RSI) «The Social Integration Income (RSI) is a measure of social protection created to support people and families who are in a situation of serious economic distress and at risk of social exclusion and consists of: A contract for the insertion help integrate socially and professionally ; 6

7 A supply of money to meet their basic needs.» (Social, s.d.) Social emergency plan: Regarding this issue the plan has measures such as: «Training for inclusion - enhancing personal, social and professional socially disadvantaged or excluded components; Ensure the delivery of meals to those who can not provide; Ensure the donation and distribution of food and meals - combat waste; Social Market Lease - put houses to rent below market prices; Line of social emergency; Home Care - enhance and improve the response; Centers Night - Promoting innovative responses; Signaling in social isolation.» (Ministério da Solidariedade, s.d.) Regarding housing we have : State aid in access to housing : «Financing in the form of grants access to housing (in income, property or support particular stone in construction through housing cooperatives, development contracts or partnerships with private construction ) ; The use of their planning powers to influence the existence of soil for low cost accommodation ; Information about the needs and resources in order to support a balanced functioning of the housing market for everyone.» (Guerra & al, s.d.) Has an example of a program related to housing access we have: PROHABITA program, created in 2004 and revised in 2007, has as main objectives : «Settlement of severe housing shortage of households in the country ; Rehabilitation of degraded housing estates or lacking equipment.» (Guerra & al, s.d.) 7

8 CASA - Support Center for homeless: Consists of a private Welfare, nonprofit association, is to undertake appropriate social solidarity cable, especially support, food and accommodation for the Homeless, children, adolescents and socially disadvantaged elderly, victims of violence or abuse regardless of nationality, religion, politics or ethnicity. (CASA, 2013) Has an example of a program related to housing access for specific groups we have: CASAS PRIMEIRO (support program for homeless people with mental illness) Guarantees: Access to a home. The monthly payment of rent. Maintenance of dwellings. Individual services and housing support available 24 hours a day. Monitoring the residential setting (minimum of 6 visits per month). Support continued and long-term. (AEIPS, 2014 ) 8

9 3. Reflexive Conclusion Civil society and NGOs play a key role in preventing and tackling homelessness and social exclusion. In this sense the civil society develops a deep partnership with other social agencies, such as NGO s in order to act towards resolution and aid in these situations, since these are areas that require a multidisciplinary approach for their diverse and complex causes and consequences. The work of NGO s if of most importance when it comes to the work developed with the homeless. In this sense, the state (in the case of the city of Lisbon) provides some infrastructures for this agencies to use, such as social canteens or Núcleos de Apoio Local (Local Aid Centers), providing almost every municipality with such spaces. But, the actual services are provided by NGO s or by a major private institution (with a public partnership with the state) called Santa Casa da Misericórdia (Holy Mercy s House). This institution, in the case of Lisbon, is in charge of the Social Security, hence portraying, to some extent, the role of the state. This being said, the bond between Lisbon s local government and private institution is a close one. Regardless, it s the Civil society that ultimately helps to achieve the goals that both state and NGO s establish to tackle homelessness. Most private institutions rely on the help provided through voluntary work as an example, one of the main private institutions that provide help to homeless people, Comunidade Vida e Paz (Life and Peace Community), beneficiates from the help of voluntary work when it comes to the first contact with this population. This said, it is the volunteer who approaches the person, in the hopes of creating a trust bond. The main goal is to let the person in a homeless situation understand that help is there for them, short term (food, temporary shelter) and long term (social reintegration). The follow-up, if the person decides to engage with the institution, is aided by professionals within a multidisciplinary approach (Social Workers, Psychologists, Counselors). In other cases, the civil society also plays an important role, being an important informant people from the neighborhood can signal some situations within their area, helping professionals to better know the issue territorially, and consequently move resources in order to act upon the given situation. 9

10 Another important thing to acknowledge is the need to work in partnership, that being, for NGO s and private institutions to work together. More and more we witness complex situations regarding social exclusion, and the resources are fewer in that sense it s crucial that institutions work together for this common goal, so that the full potential of the help and services provided is reached. When talking about housing policies, our country lacks substantially on specific policy measures regarding homelessness. As said previously, the action towards social reintegration of homeless people is mostly done by NGO s, that try to provide themselves temporary shelter as well as programs with housing support, such as reintegration communities and afterwards, halfway-houses. When talking about the role of the state, we understand that the policies are far from desired when it comes to the materialization of a real strategy to tackle homelessness although there is a strategy (mostly executed by private institutions), policy wise little as been done to better integrate those who live in such condition, in terms of policy making. The state s role ends up being more important in signaling situations, for example, trough health services or police force. The advantages regarding the current policy can be pointed trough the Social Integration Income trough this, the state that can provide the person in a homeless situation a small income and, consequently a possibility to apply for social housing. The challenges, as said before, are great in this area. Even though there are some temporary shelters within Lisbon, those are usually not from the state, as well as most of the action maid to prevent and solve such situations come from private initiative. This being said, one of the challenges of the state is to be more participative in the concretion of the plans proposed to tackle homelessness, and not play a passive part. When it comes to specific housing policies to tackle homelessness, there is still a long way to go, in the sense that the existing measures have failed to create specific policies on the subject. One of the main reasons for this, and also for the nonexistence of policies for specific excluded groups might be the lack of data available. The numbers currently available when it comes to homelessness are extremely unrealistic regarding the work that NGO s have. But, in this matter, Santa Casa da Misericordia has conducted an extensive research on the homeless population in Lisbon, which results 10

11 aren t out yet. Such initiatives might help the government to understand the depth and size of this issue, and how This research should also be conducted by the state, and throughout the country, in order to have realistic and reliable data this way, policy makers can produce measures that are suitable and properly adapted to each reality, guaranteeing the more effective use of resources. 11

12 4. Bibliography AEIPS, Associação para o Estudo e Integração Psicossocial. [Online] Available at: [Accessed Janeiro 2014]. CASA, CASA - Centro de Apoio ao Sem Abrigo. [Online] Available at: [Accessed Janeiro 2014]. Guerra, I. & al, e., n.d. Contributos para o plano Estratégico de Habitação 2008/2013, Lisboa: s.n. INE, Instituto Nacional de Estatísitica. [Online] Available at: ISS, I., Estratégia Nacional para a Integração de pessoas Sem-Abrigo. Lisboa: Instituto de Segurança Social. Ministério da Solidariedade, E. e. S. S., n.d. Governo de Portugal. [Online] Available at: [Accessed Janeiro 2014]. Social, S., n.d. Segurança Social. [Online] Available at: [Accessed Janeiro 2014]. 12

13 5. 6. Anexes Families receiving social help People taking advantage of social housing Unemployment Percentage Unemployment Percentage in year olds 13

14 Number of Social Households (INE, 2013) Social Buildings Social Households Social Households by Buildings Monthly Rent Values (INE, 2013) Lisbon 14

15 Distribution of Social Households (INE, 2013) Available Social Households Rented Social Households Social Households Occupied Illegally 15

16 People in Social Housing, 2011 (INE, 2013) Age Men Women 16

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