REPORT Athens W.S. 14-15-16 April 2016


AGENDA Athens 14-15-16/04


LISBOA Municipality's Policies



PROFILES 2014  of  D-&-WB

Workshop Warsaw 2-10-15


  PROFILES 2015  of  D-&-WB




PROFILES 2014  of  D-&-WB

Workshop Warsaw 2-10-15


  PROFILES 2015  of  D-&-WB

Workshop Warsaw 2-10-15

 INFO - Warsaw 1-2-3 / 10


POVERTY & Mental Health

WOUNDS Visible & Invisible

ACCES to Services  IN & OUT

PROTOCOL Profiles D-&-WB

 J O I N   U S 

Extreme Poverty
Mental Health

co-working  with these
European Organisation


14 Thursday afternoon


It is a cooperative with productive activity and psychiatric unit. It consists of three categories of persons:

1) People with mental illness

2) Mental health professionals

3) Organizations of the municipality area (in Athens there are 15 zones)

The objectives are:

1) Social inclusion of people with mental illness

2) Placement of persons with mental illness

3) Independence of people with mental illness

The cooperative is engaged in three production areas:

1) Cleaning Services

2) Business Office products

3) Cultural Coffee Shop is not just a restaurant, try to host cultural events and promote a culture of inclusion

The consumers workers are supported both from the schedule (shortened and flexible) and from the professionals of the sector mental health. In Greece the Coop. State tax breaks and social benefits (like in Italy). The cooperative works both on the services to the consumers both thanks to the job produced by the consumers, it contemporarily manages services type A (educational) and type B

Also manage apartments in semi-autonomy that greeted customers maximum 6 per apartment. The apartments are mixed (male-female) and are a response to the problem of homeless people in apartments are accepted psychiatric after reaching a certain degree of autonomy in facilities post psychiatric hospital.

The main objective of the operators' work is integration of guests of apartment in the local community, build a support network with neighbours and work to educate the citizenry with respect to the issues of mental health.

They don't work to support the guests from the network of neighbourhood but to include them in the community of neighbours.

Daily therapeutic activities inside and outside of the apartments (e. g. personal care, put in order of the rooms, shopping, managing daily needs independently read information activities, newspapers etc.). The most important thing is to link these people to the community .

Social exclusion is the new way of institutionalizing people with mental illness. In the project of autonomy in apartment trying to give guests the possibility to build real relationships with neighbours.
Create relationships is much more difficult than creating contacts. (links)

Often the operators are trained to work with these people according to schemes that do not respond to their needs but on the other hand we are forced by bureaucratic and financial needs to work like this.  People received pay according to their income a small rent, inside the apartment are banned drugs, alcohol and violence, operators spend two hours a day in each apartment.

In Lille there is a co-housing experience among students and people uncomfortable with living a normal life together without regulations.

Most guests welcomed has no family or family is unable to care for them.


Objectives apartments:

1) Psychosocial Support

2) Building a social network

3) Stabilization

4) Autonomy

5) Promote individual skills and residual resources


2.  Visit day Center for Homeless

The team is composed of counsellors, psychologists and educators. Access is free, accept everyone. Are mainly guidance and enter to services without making a real acceptance. Provide the following:

1) Primary services

2) Dispensary  - Clinic

3) Consulting for the job

4) Counselling

Have a large group of volunteers who run various activities:

1) Teaching language

2) Library Management

3) Babysitting in the Center

4) During the weekend running a film Club

The Center receives about 120 people a day, do not have cultural mediators.

The Center is located in an area of Athens experienced by drug addicts, take that category of people but try to avoid that colonize the Center.

Are experiencing an increase in drug addicts (despite the crisis) cheaper and more harmful substances.

Collaborate with health services but do not have formal meetings programmed.

Often geared to health services but do not get effective responses to complex needs that these people bring.

Co-working  with many different services but often by phone, and you do not know face to face. Looking to partner with other organizations in a complementary manner although sometimes depart from different perspectives can often work together. (in Ireland the competition imposed by the State among organizations leads to lower costs of services and a consequent reduction in quality, but if you create synergy between large organizations can create a lobby that face advocacy with the Government).

At this time the main problem in Greece are migrants seeking asylum, the closing of borders and agreements with Turkey are the topics on the agenda.



Support the most vulnerable part of society:
1) Homeless
2) Drug addicts
3) Migrants

Since 2007 have launched the Kickout poverty, a project that through sports activity facilitates the social inclusion of people. Every week they have a workout and play soccer, participate in the Homeless World Cup. The most important thing is to team up, regain self-confidence, is a life-changing experience of these people, the mobility.

From 2014 released a street newspaper, is a monthly magazine which costs 3 euros, is sold by the homeless that they get a percentage. People in social difficulty working on monthly build skills and gain confidence.

The magazine is only sold on the street by vulnerable people, the challenge is to produce a good monthly with good content that is not being bought for charity but for interest. Sell the newspaper, albeit partly stigmatising, is the beginning of a new perception of self. Must sell the newspaper highlighting the quality and not asking for charity. The contents of the newspaper does not relate to the problems of the homeless, but housed in the general interest that attract the public. The monthly has increased from 350 copies in 2014 to 30000 copies today.


The people working at magazine are considered not as homeless but employees, many have since found a different job. There is an annual meeting of street newspaper editorial offices worldwide where good practices are exchanged.


Currently starting a project for the establishment of the Greek national basketball team of homeless. Know that they cannot solve problems such as homelessness or unemployment but try to support people to find in itself the resources to overcome their difficulties. Through the sport will get a respite than the daily necessity of survival and compared to street life.


They also manage the project Invisible Tour where the homeless become guides on routes which affect services at their face and talk about their personal history. This task also serves to overcome stereotypes, stigma. Come with this task primarily to schools, tourists and foreign students. (cf. Schedia Magazine “Unseen Routes”)

They achieved a photographic exhibition created by homeless people who provided their perspective, their perspective of the city.

Is a social enterprise and their first goal is to motivate people to change working hard on self-empowerment.

The activities are also aimed at the collection of the needs of the person.



Friday 4/15/2016


Debate with Joćo Afonso Deputy Mayor for Social Welfare Municipality of Lisboa  and  Maria Stratigaki Vice Mayor on Social Policy & Welfare of Athens Municipality


Luigi: how to focus attention, to listen the voice expressed  or not of the homeless in situation of extreme poverty, deprivation and social exclusion ?
Because these people seem to refuse the institutional proposed services ?
What can we do, the responsible of social welfare and the community services?

it's very important for me to be here and challenge me on the approach to the problem with representatives of different nationalities.
Starting from 2011 all crisis got worse, we had a progressive impoverishment of the population, the most vulnerable have lost their homes, families were broken and there was an increase of homeless immigrants coupled with increased presence.

In Lisbon has about 800 homeless people. Asylum seekers currently have specific services even if you are planning on using the same partners and the same strategies used for the homeless to support migrants.

it's very important for us to create connections between European cities. In Greece the crisis hit very hard, the Greeks today are suffering the consequences of the agreement with the troika and undergo great pressure of migrants.

20 years ago in a Mental Health Congress in Thessaloniki, at mine question: how many homeless in Greece, the answer was very clear: no homeless because 3 safety net  :  1. family, 2. Clan,  3. Community,  there was a context supporting vulnerable people. Today more than 20.000 : “I could never imagine so many homeless people in Athens” 

: Grandparents ' pensions in Greece today support the children and grandchildren, family ties are still very tight if they touch the pensions would collapse the whole system. The social policy of the city is not all because they suffer the influence of national policy.

At the moment there is a segmentation of services and a gradual shift of powers between State and city.

Nevertheless, the city must address the social programme (see slides).

Those populations most in need have been identified, there are shelters and a programme of social housing but on the road there are still many homeless, many are drug addicts who do not have access to psychiatric services or housing.

We currently do not have resources to solve these complex problems.

Social services with the crisis have suffered major cuts, the staff has been reduced, and many employees have been retired and not replaced.

Is there a programme of social housing which is aimed at families in difficulty (steadily increasing) not homeless, is a program not funded by public resources but by sponsors and charities.

The Administration has asked that vacant apartments puts them available for two years to implement the program of social housing.

: the situation in Portugal is very similar, there is a central State control of social policies, a segmentation of services and expertise and scarce resources. Major social problems have been identified to achieve a rationalization of resources. Civil society social programmes have been defined based on the active participation of society.

The strategy for the homeless is based on national guidelines. From consultations between Central Government and municipalities in 2014 was created a single Office that they collaborate 22/23 organizations to respond to the complexity of the needs brought by the homeless. Every city has made a social network (by law), and any social response should be discussed and organized within this social network. Within the network, there is also the group that works with the homeless.
This group discusses coordinated within a table by the municipality General strategies and operational case-by-case basis.

The general strategy focuses on the following points:

1) Street unit

2) Food Distribution

3) Housing

4) Design

5) Emergencies

For more information on how this system is funded and what responsibility see slides:    cf.:  Municipal Programme for the Homeless




MARIA: we work with private social organizations on projects (all interventions are arranged on the project). Social Policy Programme Athens 2015-2019

Are involved in projects 20000 people and administration works with 20 different organizations.

The Central Government has dramatically reduced resources and the city was forced to find resources by private sponsors.


LUIGI: you're in partnership with other European cities?


Joćo: Yes, we are trying to work together in the Group Eurocity, a good place to exchange ideas and good practice. We'd like to improve the solutions we propose:

1) Street unit to contact and engage the homeless and to understand their needs

2) Shelters from 30-40 people

3) Housing first program

4) Social housing

MARIA : we have initiatives on refugees in cooperation with Mayors of major European cities, we participate in the Eurocity group, we work together with Barcelona, Lisbon, Stockholm on an innovative project of social affairs.

PIERRE: what developments do you expect the socio-economic situation, began the path of reconstruction, how long will it take?

TONY: For Joao, because you went through a system of shelter for one mixed with housing first?

MARIA: future prospects in Greece are on a national level, we do not know how it will end the deal EU but is critical to understanding future developments. We are trying to better address the current situation but the distortion related to asylum seekers has changed priorities.

How many of these will remain in Greece?

How many of these will remain in Athens?

At the moment we are facing the emergency, integrate those who remain will be the challenge of the future and this will affect the overall management of social affairs.

Joćo: we hope that the number of homeless do not increase in the coming years despite we have to face the consequences of Austerity.

At the moment it is not easy to imagine future prospects, if possible we will try to not let many people on the street and increase the primary services offered.

For people who remain on the street is a priority to respond to basic needs.

As regards the housing first is funded by national resources. In our opinion it is the solution that allows people to stay in a better condition, in effect what we ask the homeless in first instance is a House because as long as they're in the street cannot help but try to survive. In this sense, Housing First is for me a solution.


VICTOR: I support to projects of Housing First but sometimes risks being a something that favours one category of persons (the homeless) at the expense of other categories of people who legitimately wonder why a home for the homeless and not a House for us?


Joćo : we have this problem of course, we believe that the condition of homelessness is a transitional condition whereby if they are supported can be found their own autonomy.


LUIGI : what feelings you have for the future.


MARIA: I'm moderately pessimistic.

Joćo: I have a pessimistic vision of the present but a very optimistic about the future






ATHENS  Evaluation Points from WS  


Workshop 1 Friday 15/04/16

Group 1 Jacopo:

1. Individual programme/approach

2. Protected environment to facilitate reintegration vs normal environment to real integration

3.First than every other intervention: meeting primary needs

4. New social role means new identity

5. Everybody needs support in going out in the world, nobody goes alone

6. Support people means give them love, relationship and hope

7. We must demand a better social justice

8.  Often our interventions are realized according prevalent needs. We should approach people like an unique complexity instead of a set of non-related needs. We should give answers to people instead of giving answers to needs.

9. It’s necessary to cooperate, between social system and health system

10. Not everybody will be albe to reach autonomy, we muste give them a different dignity on a different scale of value. Everybody will reach a different level of autonomy

11. we must guarantee and ensure access to rights, not only recognize the rights.



Group 2 Pierre:

1. Translators are an important tool for communication

2. Important to go beyond the rules and the role, to be able to get out of the box (doing different things, paying for things we are not supposed to pay, seeing patients we are not supposed to see,…). You get paid back because the results can be more rewarding for the teams.

3. Let’s see the people as an entity, and not as their problem(s).

4. Education is an important asset in recovery; we should take education into account because it can help the person in the recovery process.

5. We need to work in close multidisciplinary collaboration, inside teams or organisations, as well as between different institutions.

6. Being part of a social movement, or helping others can be a way towards recovery.

7. Hospitalization can be an opportunity to change life, to get out of the street towards another solution.

8. Homelessness is a question of human rights, not of some “tolerance”, or “charity”.



Workshop 2

Group 1, Victor:

1. Compulsory admission is an important tool

2. Protective housing, even in the form of hospitalization, can be necessary.

3. Mental health sector and social sector should work together.

4. Working together helps for de-stigmatization.

5. We should also put energy in deciding top-down.

6. We need sufficient budgets on the long term.




Group 2, Pierre:

1. You need time in the process, it’s necessary to take your time (several months or years).

2. You need the build up trust , a personal band with the person.

3. If you coordinate well with the other organizations, you help some people to make the links they are not able to make any more. It also prevent you to be in a situation where you become incompetent. If you feel competent, you will be in a better situation to transmit that feeling to the patient.

4. Mobile units for mental health are necessary. This allows people to stay in their environment, and gives the tools and the security to their environment (follow-up from outside). Teams should be proactive, and some contacts can take place by Skype, when easier.

5. In a system where there is a common reception for all people, homeless or not, helps de-stigmatization.

6. Red Cross can be a tool to trace peoples families

7. People often stay at the same place, or near the same places.

8. When working together, we have a global vision of what must be done, but we keep our own mission.

9. Cultural activities can be an excellent way to boost self-esteem.

10. Trained volunteers, with low threshold activities or structures, can offer good solutions for slight mental health cases. We should look for a balance between volunteers and professionals, in mental health.



Andrew  some reflections


I was to write something about Athens but it would be more useful  to write something on SMES on the grounds of experience of Athens – and Warsaw.

I think SMES has two functions :
1. spreading the news, reflections, new ideas, experiences on the ways of assisting those in need;
2. Bringing helpers together for discussion, exchange, friendship.

The first function is more external and more appropriately served by bigger events, the second more internal and more appropriately served by smaller events. In practice these functions intermingle and rightly so.

Spreading ideas without human contact is not effective, coming together in internal circle without new people is self-adoration.

Warsaw was a bit bigger event than Athens. Its potential for spreading new ideas was therefore greater, although I don’t think it was executed very effectively. For the message to spread you need good message and adequate audience. I don’t think that discussing profiles without clear conclusions and postulates delivered to adequate addressees furthers the cause effectively. But sure the message of desinstitulization has been heard in Warsaw by the young people from Psychiatric hospital. However, what further sequence of events can we offer to those young people in Warsaw? Usually they are not able to follow our meetings for financial reasons.

Athens  was more intimate, internal. I appreciate the advantages of that. Discussions seemed to me more in-depth, but as far as spreading message goes, the message was not so clear and the audience was small.

I like the idea of Florence.
As I see the agenda it is clearly about spreading our ideas to the local audience.
This agenda seems clear, concise, purposeful. Jacopo will take care of the appropriate audience, I suppose.
So after a perhaps too dispersed attempt in Warsaw and too intimate one in Athens we are on the way to more good balance…






Housing Reintegration:

It is a project started in September 2015. Funded by the Greek Ministry of labour to place homeless people in apartments in autonomy and build with them a course of reintegration. It is a multidisciplinary programme run by Praxis, Koispe. Following the testimony of Nicolas one of the beneficiaries of the project:

I was a homeless who lived in Athens. I was 4 months in hospital after discharge I found myself back in the street, are then came in contact with Praxis they informed me about the possibility to participate in the Reintegration and Housing program gave me the opportunity to be placed in an apartment at Enfisa and start work within a cooperative supported by mental health professionals. Today to seven months away I feel reintegrated into society, I never imagined possible. Work in the sale of organic products and are supported by the love and care of colleagues. Initially I was doubtful about transfer to another city but the welcome i received made me think again. The added value of this program is what provides for the enhancement of quality of life. Seven months ago, in Athens, I had nothing, I was a homeless with no hope. Today at 65 years are within a program that I returned to civil society. Next month the program will end but I hope is renewed.

(Report Silvia)