Homelessness

Public homelessness is a category of homeless people without roof over their heads – people who reside on the street. Hidden homelessness is category of people without home, sheltered in institutionally or otherwise supported housing.

System for support of homeless people

The support system should consist of 4 (four) types of activities:

  1. Prevention
  2. Early intervention
  3. Intervention in crisis
  4. Social and professional integration

Prevention – early intervention – intervention in crisis – integration

The support needs to be implemented in cooperation with the governmental, non-governmental and the business sector. The religious communities could also give their contribution here.

  1. The preventive forms of action towards the homeless focus on employment and housing. People with symptoms of entering homelessness should be immediately offered an employment. In particular, attention should be brought to families who live in substandard conditions, illegal housing and families facing a risk of losing their home or rented housing.
  2. Early intervention is implemented through identification of different at-risk groups and undertaking all possible measures for the people or families displaying symptoms of homelessness. Particular role in this type of activities have the Social Welfare Centers, the visiting services, visiting social workers of the city of Skopje and the religious communities. (The main activities refer to a detailed overview of the income, housing, property situation, work, family, and health insurance)
  3. Intervention in crisis refers to people who have entered homelessness.
    The activities focus on:

– Providing housing (center/ reception center for homeless with a new concept or supported training-housing– therapeutic community)
– Provision of food, clothes, and health care
Necessary activities:

– Activities of the visiting social workers

– Sleepover reception points

– Reception for urgent assistance (reception points for care and health care, community food centers, reception points for personal hygiene, information reception points)

  1. Social and professional integration

The social integration refers to people with a homeless status. It aims at enabling reintegration into the society and securing independence. The social integration has different dimensions (economic, psychological, social, and legal)

Due to the wide diversity of the homeless people, a corresponding diversity in the institutions dealing with homeless people is necessary, where the level of support and assistance will be adapted to the level of motivation of the people for overcoming homelessness. Enabling inclusion (work, sport, cultural, education activities) and independence may also occur in the institutions which house homeless people. The shelters or the training-residences seem to be most conducive for the accomplishment of the above goal, due to their size and a smaller number of residents. According to the Macedonian Law on Social Protection, the training-residence may resemble a therapeutic community.
Law on Social Protection, Article 147-а /09.2015

The therapeutic community provides temporary housing of people who use/abuse drugs and other psychotropic substances and precursors, conducts re-socialization through psychological and social treatment during a certain time-period, through program and method of self-respect and active inclusion of the beneficiary in the therapeutic program; provides services related to nutrition, stay, housing, hygienic maintenance and cultural or social activities.

The detailed conditions for the manner of implementation of the re-socialization program in the therapeutic community shall be prescribed by the minister.

Generally, the homeless people must participate in the coverage of the fee for the therapeutic communities. It is one of the ways for practicing independence and instilling responsibility.

In the institutions for homeless people it is mandatory to organize education – with professional and psychological dimension. The psychological support is to be organized by professionals, with the participation of the homeless themselves, who, in the therapeutic community apply the group method of therapy and form the so-called mutual help groups. In the therapeutic community the homeless people need to participate in the group as equal partners.

The residents in the centers and in the training-residences need to be provided with a possibility of employment (workshops, courses, trainings), and improvement of their work habits, to be able to be more competitive on the labor market.

According to the practice in other countries, the homeless people may be provided with a personal assistant, who will help support the process of their reintegration.

Mutual help groups – groups for mutual support with the participation of a therapist. People with similar problems are organized together; give mutual support in addressing the problems (single mothers, parents of sick children)