Housing First program
Today, there are almost 30 thousand homeless people in Hungary, while the social provision system can only provide accommodation for approximately 10 thousand people. Those who have no place in the system are forced to live on the street, build huts or tents, or take some kind on non-residential place as a shelter (e.g. cellar, cave, abandoned buildings). Many people have no way out from the provision system. Lacking a proper income, they cannot sustain to rent a flat from the market and the number of social rent housing is so low that there is almost no chance that they get one. That is, the provision system for homeless people today in Hungary is mainly saving lives – however, unfortunately it cannot offer a long-term solution to escape homelessness.
What do we raise our voice for?
Besides elaborating policy recommendations, Habitat for Humanity Hungary tries to help homeless people directly as well. The goal of our program is to enable homeless people, who have lost their habitat and live on the streets/in public places, to get a stable, independent housing. According to our plans, in Budapest we help 5 families per year that lack secure housing. We seek new housing options for them, mainly by renewing ruined public rental flats. Municipal rental housing offer an affordable solution for currently homeless people. During the refurbishment of the flat we attempt to involve future tenants and volunteers to carry out the necessary work, but we also employ contractors for professional tasks. With our help, 15 homeless people were able to move into 10 flats in Budapest (in the districts of Újpest, Kőbánya, Budafok, Zugló) during 2014, and 10 people could move into 6 flats in 2015. Habitat for Humanity implements this program in partnership with organizations that perform the supporting of homeless people on the streets (The City is For All, Oliver Twist Foundation, Hungarian BaptistAid, From the Street to a Flat Association). We provide intensive social work tailored to the needs of the person/family for participants, which is essential for people who escaped homelessness to settle down and create their own existence. This intensive social work is a key part of the program that starts well before moving into a flat and is necessary after moving.
At Habitat for Humanity we are convinced that superficial measures are not sufficient to resolve the problems related to homelessness. Complex programs that prevent homelessness and people from losing their home would be necessary. For people who are already homeless, independent housing instead of temporary solutions can be a better option, as this enables them to recover their self-sustained, independent life and also motivates them to build their own existence required to maintain their housing.