Living in Public Space in Warsaw – CMSA Research Report

18 września 2013

In 2012, CMSA conducted a study into the presence of institutions in the life of clients of the CMSA street work programme staying in the public space in three districts of Warsaw. The above was a part of the implementation of our Advocacy Strategy based on research, cooperation and transparency. The “No-information-loss” tactic has been used for the first time: the street worker and the researcher cooperated closely with each other to combine the provision of help with the collection of evidence to inform policy.

Introduction: The non-governmental providers of services for the homeless, social welfare centres, police, municipal police and hospitals in Warsaw report having people living in public space among their clients. They come from gardening allotments, garbage allotments, abandoned buildings, staircases, pipes, railway stations and other places not meant for human habitation.

According to a pilot study covering the Wola district of Warsaw (Wygnańska, 2010), 23% of the patients of the Specialist Clinic for the Homeless run by the Association “Doctors of Hope” described their current housing situation as living in “public space” or “unconventional dwellings”. During the 10 days of the first attack of frost at the end of November/beginning of December 2010, the Warsaw Municipal Police recorded almost six hundred cases involving homeless persons living in public space on a permanent basis.

This is despite the fact that Warsaw has a variety of facilities “for the homeless”, such as warming up facilities, night shelters (including one low-threshold night shelter, i.e. a shelter admitting people without any preconditions), homeless shelters and specialist shelters for the sick. Even in winter, the so-called Monday Reports based on the information on the number of beds available sent from the facilities to the Office for Social Policy and Projects, show that there are free beds in the facilities…

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Chapter 1 describes the street work programme carried out by the Camillian Mission for Social Assistance. Chapter 2 is an attempt to describe the direct link between the activity and the studies the methodology of which is discussed in chapter 3.  The Mission is not a research institution – it was funded with a view to working directly with people in extremely difficult housing situation. The study is a result of a conscious introduction of the Advocacy Strategy based on the pillars of knowledge, cooperation and transparency[1], through which the Mission attempts to influence social policy towards homelessness and housing exclusion. Chapter 4 describes a group of people living in public space – 138 persons covered by the CMSA street work programme, including respondents of the study into the presence of institutions. The last two chapters contain a summary of conclusions from our study and recommendations.

Download Full Report: Living_in_pubic-space_in_Warsaw-CMSA-FINAL

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