Midterm ERASMUS+ Evaluation Meeting

DIGNITY & WELL-BEING: Exchange for changing

Florence   20 / 02 / 2018   




3.   HOUSING         Workshop Tuesday 20/2/2018                Facilitator : Pierre  Ryckmans



1.     Why have we Social Protection like a pillar in the interventions with people homeless with mental illness?

Evident link between our work and the housing theme, since we are working with  home-less  persons.

(home is not shelter, you have to  habitare , live in, to make it your home)


But this link kwas not always evident : for a long time it was telled that it was the problem of teh people temselves which was the problem : they didnt want to be in a home. Since them, new publics (migrants, young people) and new approaches (housing first) have showed that the housing accessibility and affordability is a big part if not the biggest part of the problem.


The link could become again less evident because of : denying certains rights for certain people (migrants, european migrants) ; or chronical lack of space in social housing. This could lead again to a tolerance to a fact that should not be tolerated.


Housing is certainly a crucial point, but is not yet taken seriously enough in all its dimensions.



There is a general right to housing in common legislation, but no absolute right (and certainly not to home, maybe more easily to shelter). Even theoretically, its not very clear.

Probably this is due to the materiality of housing, which is heavy, slow and expensive. You need strong forces to move society in the good direction and to make it happen. We always have to keep that in mind.

On the other hand, every cut, every lack to this right to housing is a step further in the tolerance of what should not be tolerated.


Reality on the field


The group avoided the migrants question because it would lead to a specific discussion about rights, what was not the aim here.


Maybe there is a group of people who  just  need the place, and do not need any support to get in and stay. Maybe. But probably people who already lost their home need some kind of support for some time. People who are on a waiting list are probably more autonomous.


So support is a key question, this means :

-          Time : sometimes the support can even be necessary for a lifetime.

-          Elementary things must sometimes be teached : how to use a microwave, when and wher can you get rid of your trash,

-          Important to listen to what the persons says about housing, what is important to her, what it represents to her (how did he feel home in the street, because of what ; what special needs does the person have,) Example : a patient stayed very difficulty for two years in an appartment alone, to finally realize he would be much better in a community. Now he is very happy in a nursing home.


So its important to have different formulas, possibilities, to respond to the different needs of the people. As we invent new ways of living in the society, probably we have also to invent new ways of housing.



When speaking of housing, immediately we think of recovery, about  a better life  and so on.



There is probably no technical problem any more to get people housed (housing first has proved you can house anybody), so the problem and the solution-  is more political : the ris no sufficient social housing building (example of ireland is very clear) and the idea of support people housed are both insufficiently discussed and suported by politicians.




SMES-Europa - Secretary 
  Tel. +32.2.5385887 -    mob. +32.475634710  -   smeseu@smes-europa.org