Homeless Children of Odessa

Homeless Children of Odessa

According to official statistics, there are some thousand homeless people currently in Odessa. The homeless situation in Ukraine is different from the situation in other European countries. Firstly, this difference is due to the idea of “propiska”. If the person loses his place of residence, he loses his “propiska”. If a person without a “propiska” loses his passport, then it is a real possibility that he will never get it back.

The whole state system of medical and social services, and more besides,  is linked to “propiska”, which homeless people simply do not have. They therefore effectively do not exist for the municipal and state structures that have to deal with these people. They are deprived of medical and social help, shelter, the possibility of a legal income. Their lack of personal hygiene disgusts many of the more safe social classes. The threat of homelessness, however, is very real for every Ukrainian citizen today.

We believe the best strategy to change the situation is to work in two ways: providing direct help to homeless citizens and the creation of those conditions – legal, social, economic – for their successful reentry into society.

«Center for Registration and Provision of Social Services for Homeless Citizens»
In 1998 the Fund opened a Registration Center, where the homeless get social, medical and legal help. Later the center was officially established in 46 Myasoedovskaya Street.

Each day about 20 people come to the center. Here homeless people are registered and are put in contact with various city, regional and oblast’ services so as to help the homeless people and direct them to medical examinations. When necessary, they assist by getting the people to clinics and in buying their medicine, by having their documents returned to them, by helping to get free rail and bus tickets to wherever they live, and material help, such as the provision of clothes and food.

For each person, individual rehabilitation programs are developed, often providing a residence, after which the individual gets back to society.

Here, legal consultations on the prevention of becoming homeless, the restoration of habitation rights, and many other things take place. Lawyers provide a high quality legal service to both homeless people and low-income citizens. Thanks to them many people have received justice in various city and oblast’ courts.

The Fund lobbies for human rights all the time; it organizes “round tables” – meetings and negotiations with representatives of authorities from both local and central departments.

The Fund also develops and promotes normative documents directed at changing the existing situation. Specialists at the Fund carry out on-going legal analysis relating to the issue of habitation law and similar areas.

“The Way Home” Newspaper

Practically from the moment the  Fund was established, they published a newspaper that was then titled «On the Bottom», which has since been renamed «The Way Home».

This publication is the only one in Ukraine which is a member of the “International Network of Street Papers” (INSP) – a global movement that brought together about fifty publications from all over the world so as to provide homeless people with the opportunity to earn money.

The main aim of “The Way Home” newspaper is to return homeless people to society. The best way to give help to those who want it is to give them a chance to earn money.

Street Soccer for Homeless People

For 6 years now our children take part in the Homeless World Cup, held last year in Milan.   The organizer of  the competition is  INSP.  After competing in this competition, in which 56 teams from all over the world took part, our team lifted the Cup.
This kind of social rehabilitation provides people with an opportunity to cultivate team spirit, self-esteem and the will to win.

 

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