Starting from the basic principles of human rights, namely to enjoy equal chances of existence and social integration, free access to institutions and services as well as the protection of the physical and moral integrity of the person, the Timişoara Foundation ’89 established in 1997 the Service of Social emergencies for people in crisis.

As noted in the various approaches of the same subject, it is obvious that the institutional and organizational abilities and characteristics of services provided to members of a community are an important indicator of the degree of civilization of that community, highlighting how it is mobilized and structured for to satisfy the needs of its members.

The National Program of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection states: “In this regard, the expansion of emergency homelessness centers corresponds to the strategic development lines and represents a responsible manifestation of the role that local authorities have to assume, ensures the social protection of community members by preventing social exclusion on the basis of the principle that every human being has the right to a dignified life while protecting the integrated way of life of the community.

As a consequence of assessing the number of individual aid calls and new cases recorded weekly, we find that the number of people in crisis is increasing and that society (community) is facing a problem that they have to deal with in the long run. When a person has a crisis, it is inevitable that someone can provide immediate assistance to meet basic needs, from food, shelter, personal hygiene, counseling and mediation to emotional assistance.

Thus, through the services provided by a specialized and responsible response center, much of these immediate immediate needs are met, which makes the person affected overcome the moment of impasse and rebalance, succeed in continuing the integrated life in society.

In particular, in addition to the lack of material and financial resources that allow a decent living and a social balance, the lack of social housing is a reality that social services and social service institutions are obliged to take into account. A necessary component of services is the existence of a database that collects the information that is so useful in building a work profile for assessing the needs and solutions for each case, as well as for understanding and public action on the network.

People at risk of being homeless are the most relevant segments of crisis situations.

The conditions for social reintegration of homeless people are particularly difficult and they completely disagree with the principle of equal opportunities in the context of personal will and effort. For an adult homeless person with a normal work capacity is more at risk of not finding a job, regardless of the qualification he / she has. The adult looking for a job enters a vicious circle determined by a few basic elements: inability to sanitize (there is no room for washing in order to be presented honestly at an interview); he has no place to wash his clothes or where to keep his clothes; has no sleep where to be rested for the next day at work; does not have an empathic communication report with a material disinterested person behind it. In addition, no employer in good faith will hire a person living in the street, and those who do so will use this opportunity to make the most of the situation by abusing a bad or even paid work by “Hiring” in various periods, without workbooks, through blackmail and even violence.

The inventory and analysis of many community-based cases reveals that many people do not lose their home overnight but through a more complex, lengthy process that begins with job loss, divorce, the death of a partner or a child, loss of physical or mental health; the loss of resources that lead to marginalization and the inability to support an independent life, inadequacy and social exclusion.

It is a fact that many elderly and lonely people with very low pensions face situations of abuse and / or neglect by their peers or those who, using legal strategies and the inability of the elders to defend themselves, I get them to lose their home.

The cities in Romania and especially Timisoara also face property restitution situations, many people and families with or without children end up in the street because the state housing stock is exhausted, the possibilities to build social housing.

People at risk of being homeless are the most relevant segments of crisis situations.

The conditions for social reintegration of homeless people are particularly difficult and they completely disagree with the principle of equal opportunities in the context of personal will and effort. For an adult homeless person with a normal work capacity is more at risk of not finding a job, regardless of the qualification he / she has. The adult looking for a job enters a vicious circle determined by a few basic elements: inability to sanitize (there is no room for washing in order to be presented honestly at an interview); he has no place to wash his clothes or where to keep his clothes; has no sleep where to be rested for the next day at work; does not have an empathic communication report with a material disinterested person behind it. In addition, no employer in good faith will hire a person living in the street, and those who do so will use this opportunity to make the most of the situation by abusing a bad or even paid work by “Hiring” in various periods, without workbooks, through blackmail and even violence.

The inventory and analysis of many community-based cases reveals that many people do not lose their home overnight but through a more complex, lengthy process that begins with job loss, divorce, the death of a partner or a child, loss of physical or mental health; the loss of resources that lead to marginalization and the inability to support an independent life, inadequacy and social exclusion.

It is a fact that many elderly and lonely people with very low pensions face situations of abuse and / or neglect by their peers or those who, using legal strategies and the inability of the elders to defend themselves, I get them to lose their home.

The cities in Romania and especially Timisoara also face property restitution situations, many people and families with or without children go to the street because the state housing stock is exhausted, the possibilities to build social housing are reduced and the only night shelter has a much reduced capacity compared to requests.

On the other hand, hospitals and clinics are confronted with delicate cases of people who refuse to dispose of because they have no place to go, those who require hospitalization in the winter to not sleep under the free sky, or, worst, people who have suffered trauma or operative interventions and who, after three days of legal stay in the hospital, have no place to be housed and cared for in their state of convalescence.

Nor is the situation of young people much advantageous. Those who leave social protection systems (children’s homes), although possessing a qualification, can not afford to pay a rent and enter a typical vicious circle, most of the time without leaving. The situation of disabled young people coming from specialized social care centers is even worse, besides having no family support, no skills or qualifications, it fails implausibly in the street; they are thus forced to beg for a minimum subsistence, they are taken from one social institution to another or become victims of criminal networks.

In Timişoara there are only two non-governmental organizations with homeless centers (Pater Jordan Night Care and ’89 Timişoara Foundation) but the number of places they have (100-160 beds) is totally insignificant in relation to the total number of those who do not have a living space and request accommodation. As in other similar situations, besides the limited number of places, none of the two organizations have adequate care staff (carers or health care staff) which complicates the assistance in more serious cases in bed after surgery, trauma or paralysis). The newly established accommodation center near the canteen of the town hall, although modern, well-equipped and serviced by a large staff, has a limited accommodation capacity (50 accommodation places) and can not be expanded in the current location. All these accommodation opportunities are these until the number of requests for accommodation is growing.

The state of affairs is also considerably hampered by demands that increase considerably in the winter and are impossible to honor, but also impossible and refused, thus reaching the situation where the shelters accommodate a double number of people in relation to their accommodation capacity, agglomeration has complicated side effects related to sanitation, laundry washing, sanitation and aseptic maintenance of premises, food security, socialization conditions, as well as the risks posed by the level of education and intelligence of the cases. Although in the winter, when the temperature drops well below 0 degrees, the town hall has opened an emergency shelter in the premises of a thermal power station on the Teacher’s Street, the number of “chronicles” who live to live in the street exceeds the accommodation possibilities. In this case, however, for the most part, we are dealing with stranded people from the perspective of social integration, but which must be supported and protected as any other human being in distress.

As a consequence of the above, we believe that the existence of a residential center with a complex care and rehabilitation treatment of social cases is absolutely necessary. In this respect, the operation and support of an undetermined accommodation center is a viable and binding solution for the community, both from the social and social perspective of the interests of community coexistence.

In this context, the role of PREVENTION of the social services provided by the Timisoara Foundation 89 is essential.

Brief Analysis of Homelessness (PFA) situation in Timişoara

The city of Timisoara, through its geographical position (the gate to the West) and the reputation of the city with a remarkable development reflecting the promise of jobs and decent living in an open community with a degree of superior civilization in other areas of Romania, has always been an attraction for those looking for a better place to live and work.

On the other hand, the housing crisis caused by the influx of the population and the large number of retrocessed buildings with their negative effect on discharges and the loss of living spaces (and public spaces) generated an amplification of the homelessness phenomenon.

The long-standing experience of the Timisoara Foundation’s social services89 has been able to observe this situation in essence and has investigated a large number of cases of this kind for which case studies, social inquiries, filings, photographs, testimonies and dialogues.
The conditions in which PFAs live are dramatic. Repudiated by society without identity papers (many of them being illiterate), disoriented and living today, without trust in authorities, beaten and chased from one place to another, the target of the neighborhood gangs that beat them robbing money from begging, PFA live in instability and inertia, between impulses of violence and dissimulation.

Nor is their relationship with public institutions encouraging or functional: medical practices, hospitals and state clinics in the area do not accept them (except as emergencies) because they have no identity papers or can not prove that they come from this region of the country; cabinets and private hospitals must be paid in such a way that PFAs also lack healthcare.

Conscious that they are not wanted in the community, that the locals are agitated and disturbed by their presence, that they are despised and rejected; forced by the impossibility of acquiring the necessary elemental elements, glide easily into the underworld by resorting to theft, shops and dwellings, robbery or murder.

Over the years, in the discussions that we had during the social investigations, we even faced testimonies of criminals in general prosecution, who had just consented to surrender after contact with us. In fact, a large proportion of homeless adults have a criminal history and internships in prisons. Many of those who are just released from prison first come to the foundation to receive clothing, counseling and work.
In the same context of the trust relationship created between us and the investigated we identified cases of syphilis and tuberculosis and we took steps to treat them in specialized clinics.

Alcoholism is more common in day-laborers who migrate from one area to another in search of occasional work. Much of them do not have a home, sleep in the waiting rooms of the North Station, train trains out of the way or drawn on a dead line, in improvised shelters beside railroad tracks, at the outskirts or in derelict buildings or even in small colonies of “street children” in the sewer tunnels.

More than 80% of the street’s street children and a growing number of beggars are using the drog with “aurolac” or chemicals with a hallucinatory and tranquilizing effect. Dependence on “baggage in the bag” is a reality and its time-honored consequences as of now. We know cases that have been temporarily integrated (home, work, thankful salary, regaining self-esteem, etc.) but have lost everything that has hardly been gained, precisely because of the inability to give up the drugs

Most homeless teenagers come from former children’s homes. But some of them got into the streets driven by families or fleeing from their own impulse. Disorganized families are the major source of PFAs (supernumerous, alcohol-less, non-occupational, low-skilled, low-education families). Some of these parents have abandoned their family and can no longer be found, others are in detention, others do not recognize their children from occasional ties or concubinage.

Girls are less visible in the street world and seem to survive seemingly easier. They buy food, clothing, and drugs for prostitution. Named in the street of the “producing” street, they “work as trashers” on highways on the outskirts of the city, in the area of the North Railway Station, on long-distance trains of night trains or in the homes of pimps. They rarely claim that they are being abused by the transient members of the groups with whom taxi drivers, train drivers, police officers, etc. are living together.

It is a fact that many homeless people who are wandering, begging in public places or traveling by public transport are parasites, skin or venereal diseases, tuberculosis.

The absence of elemental hygiene amplifies dirt, despair, and aggression. The main objective of the Foundation’s social service activity is to PREVENT the arrival of people in crisis. Thus, free provision of specialized social services in accordance with general quality standards and individualized according to the specific and real needs of each beneficiary, services aimed at preventing, limiting or removing the temporary or permanent effects of the risk situations that may lead to marginalization or social exclusion of the persons concerned; providing specific, professional (legal, psychological, occupational) services to ensure the most effective social reinsertion of the people hosted; collaborating with local institutions and authorities and non-governmental organizations in actions to address as effectively as possible the social problems faced by people in crisis.

PRINCIPLES promoted and affirmed by the society on behalf of which Timişoara Foundation ’89 operates:

  • Promoting the interests of assisted persons
  • Equal opportunities when personal will positively affirms, non-discrimination in access to social services and provision of social services;
  • the principle of social solidarity and the deontology of social assistance – according to which people temporarily deprived of shelter are socially supported;
  • the principle of free access to shelter – according to which every citizen has free and unhindered access to a shelter;
  • he principle of social equity – according to which people in crisis can benefit from social assistance and protection;
  • respect for human rights and dignity;
  • ensuring the self-determination and privacy of the beneficiaries;
  • Ensuring the right to choose;
  • individualized approach and person-centered approach;
  • encouraging the participation of beneficiaries in the entire process of providing social services; • transparency and public accountability in the provision of social services;
  • cooperation and partnership;
  • recognizing the value of each person;
  • Comprehensive, global and integrated approach;
  • results orientation;
  • continuous improvement of quality;
  • Combating abuse of beneficiaries

PURPOSE and Mission of the Timişoara Foundation Social Service 89

Organization and operation of the reception and prevention center, emergency help, counseling and shelter for people in crisis to prevent street failure.

The operation of a combination of social services to ensure coverage:

  • food emergencies
  • Emergency shelters
  • clothing emergencies
  • recording cases of those affected, including making social investigations related to the case
  • personal services for those affected by the crisis
  • organizing the reception center activity
  • Managing shelter accommodation
  • Social recovery and reintegration of people at risk of getting into the streets, preventing or correcting factors that cause degradation of the quality of life of members of vulnerable groups in the community.
  • preventing social exclusion and ensuring social protection for people in crisis;
  • development of the long-term support and counseling service for the social integration of homeless people;
  • developing, implementing a methodology for identifying and evaluating people living on the streets to prevent and reduce the phenomenon;
  • monitoring, on the basis of real data, the number of homeless people and the percentage of cases resolved.
  • The whole activity is aimed at diminishing, preventing and combating the social exclusion of homeless people, as well as improving their quality of life

Services:

  • receiving and hosting the homeless persons domiciled in Timisoara for a fixed period, with the possibility of extension in well-founded situations;
  • care services consisting of providing conditions for carrying out an individual hygiene minimum (body hygiene and clothing), de-dusting if necessary and washing linen for the beneficiaries;
  • Ensuring the possibility of changing their clothing with a suitable one for the season;
  • Ensuring the conditions for the preparation and serving of daily meals (it is taken into account that food security is essential for life, this insurance counteracts the shock of the crisis, morale is raised and energy is given to those in stressful conditions);
  • psychological counseling (preparation for planning the next steps on the path of integration or reiteration), professional, family (in case of family crisis), emotional support for social integration or reintegration (psychosocial therapy sessions to increase confidence and respect for to increase the chances of integrating into society); The purpose of personal counseling is to provide emotional support to help people to help themselves and prevent their failure in the street with all the dramatic effects that have come from this situation;
  • legal counseling and informing beneficiaries about their social rights, facilitating access to other benefits and / or other social services;
  • support for obtaining / recovering identity documents and / or civil status documents (steps and collaboration with institutions in the area of origin);
  • support for finding a job for those eligible and enrollment in qualification / retraining courses in accordance with their training and capabilities;
  • support for finding a home for those who have the ability to maintain it;
  • formal and non-formal education in order to assimilate the knowledge and skills necessary for social integration;
  • socializing and developing relationships with the community, the family, where appropriate;
  • mediation between healthcare centers; references for medical expertise and emergency treatment;
  • support for placement in institutions of the seriously ill and very old.

Note: Services are initially granted for a specified period, in order to prevent dependence on social services and to help people who are able to live independently as soon as possible.

Work tools used (according to standards, theory and practice in social work)

  • social investigation,
  • the socio-medical assessment grid,
  • service plan,
  • the initial personal evaluation sheet,
  • assessment sheets when leaving the center,
  • personal plan of the future,
  • other documents (the regulation of the center, exit sheets, the survey of the quality of the services provided to the beneficiaries, etc.)

Procedures for assessing social services

  • opinions of the citizens of Timisoara about the opportunity of services.
  • Mass media reactions

Expected results:

  • Improving the phenomenon of crisis and homelessness;
  • Creating a viable residential or fixed-term residential alternative to ensure decent living conditions for homeless people living in Timisoara;
  • the social reinsertion of homeless people, the effect of assisting in finding a job, housing, enrollment in qualification courses, re-training, changing circumstances that would cause failure in the street;
  • access of shelter to shelter, semi-subsistence support services in the residential complex;
  • diminishing the number of people who are in danger of getting to live in the streets, decreasing the criminal risk and render human dignity to marginalized or at risk of social exclusion.
  • increasing the quality of life at community level and urban comfort.
  • social prophylaxis (prevention of community infestation with diseases and epidemics, prevention of juvenile crime and antisocial reactions, finding and regulating the identity of people without any personal documents);
  • Criteria for evaluation of results:

For prevention, counseling in general is difficult to assess, human nature, social status, and complexity of cases not allowing mathematical criteria and inflexible opinions.

Criteria that can be used: checking statistics on the increase / decrease in the number of people in the street practicing begging and vagrancy; the assessment of cases at the end of the intervention (interruption of the relationship) with regard to the improvement of their personal situation; quantitative assessment (on average with focus for 8 people per day, without the usual interventions targeting a much higher average)

Periodically the data is centralized and statistics are produced on the most frequent situations and the most acute needs. Based on this information, research materials and video materials (video) are made especially for the training of social workers specializing in the work with these categories of beneficiaries, the realization of microsocial projects and proposals on social legislation.

Because the program addresses extremely difficult social problems, the results will appear to be less spectacular. Of the average of 500 beneficiaries in one year (some of them cases of repeated or permanent intervention), each person’s personal situation is expected to improve according to the large variety of cases of at least 60% (integration or reintegration into families, obtaining social aids by mediating access to other state or non-governmental institutions, hospitalization in children and elderly care centers, solving medical problems by mediating access to specialized clinics, material aids consisting of clothing, furniture, etc.)

An important aspect is the creation of a database, file collections and photo, video and audio documentary materials, precious for research and training of professionals in addressing these types of cases.

ACTIVITY

  • direct counseling: specialized dialogues with informational, educational, advisory beneficiaries – as the case may be, for the person to take the initiative and have the skills to solve their own problems;
  • moving with the beneficiary to other competent institutions in order to mediate their access to fast and efficient services;
  • meetings with social workers from other institutions working with the network to solve the same case;
  • endowment of social housing (purchase of furniture, distribution and transport);
  • endowment of social NGOs (furniture, equipment, various other materials, food and clothing);
  • support medical centers, hospitals (furniture, machinery, various other materials, food and clothing).

The social service activities of the foundation are carried out in partnership with Timişoara City Hall (Social Assistance Directorate), Emergency Center with Social Canteen, State Inspectorate for Disabled People Timiş, Night Shelter – Pater Jordan, Western University of Timişoara (Faculty of social assistance), the County Emergency Clinical Hospital and the Municipal Clinical Hospital of Timisoara, other NGOs.

Of the Foundation’s social activities, we stop at the main ones, namely the Counseling and Mediation Service for Crisis Persons and the Homeless Accommodation Center (Residential Center). Counseling sessions:

Dialogue with a person in a foreign situation can be extended up to two to three hours depending on their ability to communicate. Most of the times, once the contact is established, some of the beneficiaries periodically come up with various requests.

During the talks, the beneficiaries are served with tea, hot food or sandwiches (according to the Foundation’s possibilities at that time).
Due to the fact that each case has its peculiarities as history and evolution, the ways we approach it and try to solve it differ, which makes the activity of the social assistant and the psychologist very complex and adapted to each case. Although apparently we can talk about a typology of homeless people, when we analyze a case, we need to distinguish the nuances so that addressing the situation of people in crisis and especially homeless people involves a specific solution. All the more so as there is a possible interaction with the “street tenants” category, that the phenomenon of begging overlaps the former street children, the way of life of adults without home, without identity papers, with minimal income which come from occasional work, garbage recycling or crime.