emergency services  & rehabilitation support

promoting accessibility    -    improving e-quality    -    reinforcing net-working

                                                           project summary


2022 - 2024



WHY, in spite of the increase in the number and diversity of services offered, in spite of the professionalism and the important training of the operators, in spite of the increase in social and health budgets, especially in many metropolis, a certain number of homeless and mentally ill people  - seem to refuse -  preferring to stay on the street rather than accept the solution proposed by the services ?

Are the interventions integrate social & health, coherent with real request of person in need, respectful of the dignity, accessible to marginalized and excluded people everywhere they are, congruent and sustainable?  

Are sufficient and adequate services in emergency centers?



shelter  as  emergency services’ : day and/or night – drop-in  - shower & clothes  -  canteen…, is every time, in crisis and  emergency context, the crossroad of people in situation of poverty and frequently physically and psychically suffering of consequences of extreme poverty. More than a place where the poor people converge to sleep and to eat (satisfaction of primary needs…) , the  shelter become more  and  more the social reference space & refuge of the current social suffering. The shelter could become also a privileged 'observatory' of poverty consequences,  but also a potential 'bridge'  connecting these situations  with those who work in social and health services.  Surely nothing will be possible as before  Covid-19 crisis and  we  must  take  this  deinstitutionalisation opportunity in  order to respond in  more  adequate  way to new proposals and challenges



-    Emergency: a serious, dangerous, temporary, often unexpected situation requiring immediate action. 
-    Shelter:  a place giving temporary protection from bad weather or danger, which should immediately
     respond to the fundamental human right of refuge and protection and refreshment, food and drink

AIM  :  from assistance  to  participation

To identify models and good practices to facilitate ACCESS of homeless people to SERVICES and to enable social and health workers, of public and private sectors to meet Homeless Mentally Ill People where they are. The Dignity  and  Well-being  (D-&-WB) SMES project to address especially at those workers  who are particularly confronted with people living on the margins, with complex social & health problems and needs. The project  propose these specific objectives:

1. Promote and facilitate networking and a great collaboration among the workers of Institutions, Organizations, Associations involved in the ‘extreme precariousness’ field, in order to achieve effective synergies and transform the different daily practices into effective networking models.

2. Building the capacities of each participant, through international and intersectoral exchanges, through study's visits, workshops promoting listening and confrontation about the differences both of the problems and of the methodologies and adequate and efficient answers to be adapted

3. Identify efficient and innovative services and structures able to prevent the chronicity of problems sometimes only social or health problems, recommending absolute priorities both in terms of prevention and sustainability.

4. Involve all civil society: politicians, administrators, citizens and media, because this is a structural problem of society and not only and specific for professional workers .

5. Life-long learning: taking advantage of this opportunity to continue in this initiative by fostering the progressive establishment of a network that aims at continue even after the project has been completed.




1. Principle of reality:   shelters in Europe,  as emergency services for homeless people exists and  if no one really believes in the recent slogan "end of homelessness  by  2030",we will also agree that unfortunately or fortunately the  shelters  should still be there
the principle of reality leads us to  think that what we cannot cure it would at least do well to care ... And with all the means at their disposal..

2. Primary purpose:  the  shelter  is a service  to the person  in need,  respecting his dignity,  his right,    his will;  a service that is available, that welcomes, that listens, that tries to respond to the  person, heard in his need.

3. Institutionalization of the service: over the  years  and for several reasons and in  most cases,   the shelters have become  an  institution, i.e. the public or private body, established to meet any specific need of a given population.   But in this  way the  shelter in most cases has become a place where settlement, provisions, spaces ... impose their own standards,  their own principles,  often  resulting in situations  of rejection with negative consequences  for all.

4. Deinstitutionalization: is  the person first and foremost  possible?
First of all deinstitutionalisation means  to  listen and  understanding the person with respect for the person.


1. Everywhere, even if otherwise, there is this emergency service in relation to social and health emergency

2. Intersection in the  shelter of the different expressions of marginality  and psycho-physical - social suffering

3. Privileged observatory of  the evil-being of a society and all its forms of exclusion

4. Bridge function : connecting  the person in crisis with the social health services of the city

5. Welcoming and going to the meeting : welcome and outreach two functions of the same take care of person

6. Advocacy and lobby,  denunciation of shortcomings  and contradictions both in social and health

7. Privileged collaboration with  the different home services

8. Deinstitutionalization and  innovation 

9. Promotion of  training sessions

10. Propose  international shelters network   (if not already exists)



This project will to involve partners working in 4 different sectors, who are 4 pillars in supporting inclusive and participative projects:

1.   Social Assistance;

2.   Mental health;

3.   Housing sector;

4.   Participation citizenship, at least from four European countries.

To involve in co-working professional workers in social – health - mental health field, in private and public services, including volunteers’ people, who, day by day, are faced with a set of old and new issues, complex needs, with political and social pressures, far from the ethical respect of person dignity.

With the NGO  SMES-Europa, applicant of the Project, each of the 9 partners is  jointly responsible for it –  despite  having different tasks and responsibilities.

1. SMES-Europa : Santé Mentale Exclusion Sociale SMES-Europa   (BE) Applicant Organisation Responsible and  net-working with the 8 Partners to prepare the Project.

2. Coordinamento Toscano Marginalità  (IT): operates at  the level of  day and night centres, attentive to person promotion and rehabilitation . 

3. EAPN – Riga European Anti Poverty Network  (LV) : focus their mission on Poverty & Fundamental Rights - Wealth & Inequalities - Empowerment and Employment

4. PRAKSIS (GR) -  Programs of Development Social Support and Medical Cooperation

5. ŠENT - Slovenian Association for Mental Health (SI) with aim : to aid individuals with mental health issues, those in temporary mental distress, as well as their relatives.

6. Mændenes Hjem Men's Home KPH -  SHELTER  (DK) offering  different services and to differently vulnerable people, offer service this organization  .

7. Vailla vakinaista asuntoa ry No Fixed Abode  (FI)  is an NGO which h was founded by homeless themselves.

8. SHELTER of CARITAS in  Warsawa  (PL) : Why & How the shelter   -  the  shelters and : Organisation privat  & public - Users occasional ad regular -   Poverty and mental Health connected problems

9. NPISA - Lisbon :   (PT)  Net-working   of  many  Association  working  in  social and  health  field , with  Camara Municipal de  Lisboa

10.Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (BE)  facilitate  LEARNING  -   improve  TEACHING  -  promote  DISSEMINATION



1. PRELIMINARY  SURVEY  -  2022 concerning  SHELTER’s  as multipurpose service promoting   WELCOME  of Person  OBSERVATORY  of  need  -  CONNECTION  to community  base services.  

2. Four STUDY’s VISITS  -  2023 in 4 European countries, each two months,  concerning  the 4thfields : social services (RIGA)  – Health/Mental Health (Ljubljana) – Housing (Helsinki) – Recovery (Athens) including  4th inter-vision workshops after study's visits program - in order to deepest exchange visions about people – services – method, collecting through a common protocol and  final small seminar . 

3. Four WEBINARS  (2023) alternating with study visits in order deepest  analyse  the PROFILES / Narratives collected by Each Partner about ‘PERSON’ in need and ‘SERVICES’ offered concerning accessibility and quality - congruence & sustainability. These Profiles will be collected in final synthetic report.

4. EVENT & CONFERENCE (2024):  plaidoyer

a.  1st semester 2024  : event at Eu Parliament Brussels;

b.  2nd semester 2024 : XV Conference SMES

5. RAPPORT 2024  for  dissemination  of  innovative and  efficient practices  concerning:
    a) social  services       b) shelters  services  -   c) housing  services  -   d) rehabilitation services.    


METHODOLOGY  to be used in carrying out the project :

§  Listen & observe : visiting the services system listen and observe and participate in inter-vision meetings with the colleagues of the services visited

§  Exchange & evaluated : From concrete cases nd daily experiences discussed and evaluated during the workshop

§  Propose  &  innovate : new intervention, practices  and  services .



1.    accessibility  &  hospitality   -   relation  between  outside (street) and inside (shelter)

2.    congruent services   in relation to individual persons with  specific  needs 

3.    quality & continuity care  in  order to avoid the permanent repetition of emergency care services


RESULTS  and other outcomes expected  

1. Improving the knowledge of professionals :  mutual learning  about  innovative proposals and new perspectives concerning emergency services with particular attention to the singularity of the person.

2. Involvement  of the institution and policy makers in invest  more  and  better in health and social services

3. Transforming the charitable approach with homeless in respect of the fundamental rights

4. Building capacity to co-working together: public & private services – health & social sectors

5. Improving knowledge about complex needs and adequate answer.



COLLABORATION  : in the end this is the most important point:   how the various proposals and projects for solutions to the housing crisis contribute to offer congruent, adequate and sustainable responses to the demand for dignity and well-being of each person.

It is  not competition  between institutions - programmes - projects and services that will allow for more effective responses, but only complementary collaboration for respect for dignity/fundamental rights and human well-being.



SMES-Europa  -
 smeseu@smes-europa.org  Tel  +32.2.5385887,   Mob  +32.475.634710    skype: smes.europa;     web:  www.smes-europa.org