|Project title||Equal opportunities for the homeless people|
|Thematic area||Human rights and democracy|
|Name of the organization||Shelter Foundation|
|Postal address||1082 Budapest, Vajdahunyad u. 3|
|Phone||+36 1 2661901; +36 20 9129533|
|Project manager||Kepe Róbert|
|Project timeframe||October 1st, 2013 - April 1st, 2016|
|Amount of support||119,828 €|
The main activity of the Shelter Foundation has always been providing for the needs of the homeless and creating equal opportunities for them, though so far the former suppressed the latter. However, two decades later, in view of the new regulations, we need to ask ourselves whether our services and other activities are able to build a social environment which accepts the homeless.
Our aim is to reduce the disadvantages caused by the worsening legal situation and discrimination.
Now it seems that this task is much for us alone. We have to develop other non-governmental organizations and informal communities to achieve the goal. The decade long experiences of our projects which provide legal protection and aim at decreasing prejudices are being implemented in our daily work and communication strategy. We prepare the personnel of the homeless care system to influence decision making and cope with the circumstances that may be created by the expected legal changes regulating the usage of public places by the homeless. Conveying information to the public we offer personal experience to promote an understanding of their life stories.
Progress of the project:
Equal opportunities for the homeless people program itself consists of two different activities: First Hand About Homelessness (EKH) and Legal Outreach for Homeless People (HJF).
The main goal of EKH group is to reduce disadvantages caused by prejudices against homeless people. We wish to realize it by making people aquainted with homelessness, by making the aquaintance of homeless individuals themselves: doing so we organize four different type of sensitizing programs where visitors can meet homeless men and women and get to know their life story as well as their personality – from first hand. The most popular program of these is Irregular Class Discussion: we visit secondary and high class forms, where first a homeless person and a social worker tells his/her story and aswering questions, then in an interactive game the studens can put themselves in the position of a homeless person and need to find the way out from different situations. City Tour - Step Into My Living Room! program is a tour in a certain area of the city, through the eyes of the homeless: where the carpet is the sidewalk, the ceiling is the sky, the lamp is the Sun – and where is no heating, no bathroom, and surviving is an everyday challenge. There are two guides on each tour: a person who has experienced homelessness and a social worker who has experienced working in homeless services. The tours end in an institution of Shelter Foundation, where we have a discussion with the visitors and answer their questions. In Living Library program the visitiors can borrow "Living Books" – homeless persons – for a certain time, and read them by having an eye to eye, honest conversation. During these conversations one can not only look into the partner's personality and story, but also can learn facts about homelessness. In Community Lunch program a group of visitors – preferably members of a small community like classmates or a group of friends – take a lunch together in the company of a homeless person at each table, and have a discussion while taking their meal.
HJF group aims to ensure legal enforcement for homeless individuals, and its activity also has an outreach to those working with homeless people, and those working in legislation and jurisdiction. In regular consulting hours our advisory staff provides civil legal services to homeless persons and their helpers – in person, via phone, e-mail or Skype. The staff also helps understand their legal rights, provisions of law, and the given documentation of the case. It makes clients acquainted with all necessary and possible further actions, moreover they render help in completion of the required documents. HJF's Everyday Legal Knowledge program is an interactive and playful training of homeless people for legal rights: through true cases participants can playfully learn some basic facts and rules of law contraventions recurring in their everyday lives such as regulation of public places. There are several units available – ideally one, at most two units are presented at a time. Besides, HJF continuously keeps up with the law and keeps the clients, social workers and professionals informed about up-to-date legal knowledge. Also an important element of the activity is monitoring legal proceedings and surveying their appropriateness.
Furthermore we have a continuous consultation with the organizations from various parts of Hungary initiated in this program, arranging discussions with them, and also cooperating in their own activities they took up and found the most suitable for their clients, within the scope of Equal opportunities for the homeless people program. Among these activities in year 2015 there were educations concerning legal knowledge and mental hygiene; waste collection in the city and in the forest; travelling exhibition of clients' hand made pottery; small theatre play performed by clients; and for last but not least there were programs chosen from our selection such as Irregular Class Discussion or Living Library.
Since the start of the program in 2013 Legal Outreach for Homeless People (HJF) has advised and proceeded in different legal cases for more than three hundred homeless people, took part in round-table consultations, kept pace with the change of law, compiled several information handouts about everyday regulations, and trained many clients in Everyday Legal Knowledge program. First Hand About Homelessness (EKH) got in contact with more than two hundred schools in order to promote Irregular Class Discussions, continuously keeps "Living Books" well trained and motivated, keeps possible visitors informed about sensitizing programs through flyers and the well-known street newspaper Fedel Nelkul (i.e. Without Roof) that is read by tens of thousands. Since the start of the program EKH group reached more than three thousand people with its message of judging homeless people unbiased – or just ask them and listen.