1st WEBINAR - RIGA  EMERGENCY services & shelters





PERSON FIRST- Erasmus+ project

1st   Webinar   - 16  March  13:30 - 16:00

SHELTER - Emergency Services   &   SOCIAL ASSISTANCE

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



Poverty, extreme poverty and social inequalities increasing more and more with all its load of individual misery and social exclusion that we all know both at local, regional, national and European level.

Precarious health, both physical and mental illnesses are the inevitable corollary that increasingly afflicts a whole part of the population who, despite being citizens, cannot take advantage of the same rights recognized to all the others. 


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 ?


-   in spite of the increase in the number and diversity of services offered...,
-   in spite of professionalism of important training of the operators...,
-   in spite of the increase in social and health budgets...,

an important 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

Questions : 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 ?  

With regard to homeless people, there are two emergency services that encounter the largest number of homeless people:

  • Inside :     Shelter & emergency services in relation with its operators

  • Outside:  Outreaching & meeting where they are and its  operators 

  • Welcoming and going to the meeting are two functions of the same take care of PERSON FIRST .

The pandemic has undoubtedly highlighted the critical aspects of both, but at the same time it has also provided an opportunity to review and correct past inefficient models, deinstitutionalizing in a certain sense inadequate institutions, and above all to innovate by proposing not only up-to-date structures but above all prototypes more attentive to the person, more attentive to respect for privacy than to the economy of the service, more attentive to reintegration than to assistance. 

SHELTER  -  multivalent  function

Three complementary functions best express the overall meaning we intend to encompass and express with the word SHELTER:  crossroads - observatory - bridge

a) CROSSROADS: the shelter as the crossroads of people in a situation of poverty and extreme poverty, in need of the most  ‘basic & emergency services’ : day and/or night – drop-in  - shower & clothes  -  canteen…
More than a place where the
poor people converge to sleep and to eat (satisfaction of primary needs) , the shelter has become more  and  more the social reference space & refuge of current social suffering.

b) OBSERVATORY: the shelter – at same time - could become also a privileged observatory of the causes and consequence of this poverty and extreme physical and social poverty. Listening carefully to the said and unseeded of the suffering of these people, try to understand the request of the person and the multiple causes that have reduced him in this condition.

c) BRIDGE: the shelter insure too  the  function of a potential bridge  connecting these need situations with those who – in  community - work in social and health services.  Not only take care of person welcomed, but  also  to facilitate connection and  accessibility with community  based services .


  1.  How these 3 functions are expression of social mission and global function of  SHELTER global services ?

  2. What about innovation and adaptation of the service to the person rather than the person  adapted to the standardization of emergency services  ?

  3. How  shelter contribute to inclusion process, adapted in personal way to all divers people ?




smeseu@smes-europa.org    -   +32.02.5385887