Joined the Campaign: December 2017
Who’s involved? Stopa Slovensko ,- an organisation focusing on street outreach and helping people on the streets to learn new skills,- is leading work in Bratislava. The City Council Social Services department is supporting the campaign.
Context: Homelessness is not legally defined in Bratislava meaning that homeless people are not recognised as in need of support. There is a significant strain on housing for all groups in Bratislava. Traditionally, Slovakians have tended to purchase their own home rather than rent, meaning there is a shortage of rental properties for those who can’t afford to buy. The response to homelessness is significantly under resourced and there is no tradition of solutions such as social housing. The majority of people who are homeless are men between the ages of 35 and 45 years. According to research undertaken in partnership by the Municipality of Bratislava and the Institute for Family and Labour in 2016 there are at least 2,000 homeless people in the city.
What has happened so far?
Pavol Sabela from Stopa Slovensko and Jan Korec from the Social Services department of Bratislava City Council attended the November annual gathering of cities in November 2017, where they began to share knowledge and learn from other cities. They are now working together to plan various campaign actions for 2018.
Voices of those with lived experience:
The campaign is at an early stage in Bratislava, but both the city council and Stopa Slovensko are clear on the importance of making the voices of people with lived experience a central part of the campaign and their work. For example, one of Stopa Slovensko’s key programmes is helping those on the street to learn new skills and gain confidence through community gardening. You can see photos of volunteers working in different community gardens here.
One of their first campaign actions is to set up a training flat for someone on the streets to live in. This is a new concept in the city as generally people’s only housing option is to live on the street or in oversubscribed shelters. They also hope to run a conference in the autumn of 2018 with all of the cities involved to raise public awareness on the issue of homelessness in Bratislava. It is hoped this will provoke further action.
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