"The aims of the network were fully complementary with what we were trying to do at local level. ROOF brought together leading cities who we had been looking into in terms of good practice and innovative solutions to homelessness as well as building affordable housing stock. It was also clear that ROOF was a network of cities highly committed albeit at different levels of achievement of objectives. This joint dedication in itself provided a very promising framework".
"It has brought an important boost in supporting us technically and through learning processes both to design policies but also to try out innovative interventions in the city. It has also been an important support network, multiplying our possibilities in terms of ensuring more engagement, the leverage to convince stakeholders of the importance of key intervention areas (Housing First, affordable housing) at local and national levels".
A genuine pilot of the Housing First approach linked to the national homeless program “Housing & Employment”.
Thessaloniki already has an employment program for homeless people in place. This is a national program that gives an opportunity to homeless people to be integrated in the job market and get a stable living condition (similarly to what Braga is seeking to do). It is a good program, but today it addresses those homeless people that may be integrated more easily, thus people with no addiction or mental health issues. With this SSA the city would like to test if the same program could host homeless people with complex problems, which are the main target group for HF generally. 5 cases will be activated with a new collaboration between stakeholders. The SSA is designed with 2 NGOs and the ministry of labour is in charge of the program. The first step is to create a network of service providers to new beneficiaries entering the program. The second step is to create the right tools, with a focus on the development of a tool for caseload and a follow-up methodology for social workers. One person will be employed through the SSA and will be trained to then train the social workers. This SSA will give way to a change of mind set on the “type” of people that can be assisted and will hopefully prove that the existing program is even more powerful.
"We are currently already underway in implementing our Integrated Action Plan in particular testing Housing First through SSA and looking into upscaling HF to the national homelessness programme. We have also throughout the duration of ROOF set up our Social Rental Agency and will be working on generating affordable housing stock that can be linked inter alia to future larger Housing First Programmes. In this respect, we will be implementing the first Social housing Programme with the Ministry of Labour and funded through the RRF".
Focus on Thessaloniki (GR): testing the Housing First methodology on a small scale
Just last month, a homeless man, Kostas Pavlidis, known to most Salonicans strolling in the city center died on the streets in the center of the city amidst a rare cold wave soaring across the country. He had for a period of time stayed at the homeless shelter run by the Municipality, was known to Municipal and NGO homeless services but it was clearly not enough nor tailored to support a homeless person with multiple issues. The details of this specific case aside, the truth is that homeless shelters have not proven to be the most effective
long-term solution to homelessness and in times of crisis, so bluntly evident during the pandemic, shelters were unable to ensure protection, safety and health services to most homeless, let alone cover complex needs of individuals in a street situation...