Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
In recent years, the welfare and social protection systems are strongly challenged by the increase and diversification of demand as well as by the decrease of available resources. The combination of these elements makes the traditional policy approaches inadequate, as they are too “sectorial” and inflexible. The weakness of previous responses is represented by the following elements:Inappropriate housing policies, Inappropriate home care services provided at institutional level, Inappropriate social policies to protect unemployed people, ecc
The project represents a solution to cope with the problem of isolation and social exclusion of older people. It allows older people to stay longer in their homes improving their active participation in society. The project improves older people’s independent living and self-determination. It represents a solution to the decreasing availability of informal care givers (women, family networks); and represents an alternative to retirement homes, which are not sustainable in a long-term perspective for structural and environmental reasons. The project helps people in need to find affordable and decent accommodation allowing them to actively participate in society;
The project offers an innovative solution to new causes of poverty and social exclusion: precarious jobs, migration, people not entitled to public protection schemes and/or to public care services. Through the idea of mutual aid, the project represents an alternative to the isolation and stigmatisation of people facing economical or personal difficulties.
The results of analysis of the social situation made by AUSER in the province of Florence has led to the development of new interventions offering integrated solutions to different kinds of social needs.
The project represents a solution for both of these target groups: they can have free housing in exchange for support. It is giving them a chance to have the basic right of decent and affordable accommodation, to be able to exercise other rights through an active participation in society (aspiration). Leaving the cohabitants to decide the conditions of cohabitation, the project not only provides answers to current problems, but it also builds the basis for a relationship of mutual support that, with the help of volunteers and professionals, is becoming more mature and sustainable (economically and socially).
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
Abitare Solidale offers an innovative and sustainable solution to self-sufficient older people in need of help with household maintenance and housework to persons experiencing economic difficulties who are in need of an affordable and decent accommodation, as well as to women who are victims of domestic violence and in need of a temporary shelter.
Specific innovative elements of Abitare Solidale
New form of service:
The project promotes the idea of cohabitation as a new form of service, providing an integrated response to different kinds of problems and needs and overcoming classical sectoral boundaries in social services.
The service is provided by an innovative form of broad and integrated partnership involving public authorities, private actors, volunteer organisations and paid staff (social workers, consultants, psychologists, legal advisor).
The project is financed by reciprocity resources (private and public resources to retrofit the apartments; public workers and volunteers working together to involve people in the project, and to support and monitor the cohabitation).
The project is highly sustainable because it implies the optimisation of the existing housing stock and it promotes social and urban mix.
Leaving the cohabitants to decide the conditions of cohabitation, the project not only provides answers to current problems, but it also builds the basis for a relationship of mutual support that, with the help of volunteers and professionals, is becoming more mature and sustainable (economically and socially).
The project is based on the idea of mutual aid and it represents:
• an alternative solution to retirement homes for older people;
• an affordable and decent housing solution for people at risk of poverty and exclusion or experiencing economic difficulties (families of migrants, students, unemployed persons);
• a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence.
• It involves various and different target groups and stakeholders;
• It provides the use of legal tools that have been created to legally formalise the cohabitation (the Housing Covenant, and the Free Use of Property).