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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Results & outputs of Multipolis workshop: Wien (AT) 2006

I am happy & proud to see some hundreds of readers showing their interest for Multipolis outputs; so I thought it is time to re-published some old sessions results, starting with one of the earlier.
The workshop took place in Vienna (AT) on 17th March 2006, during the international seminar The needs of homeless women, part of the project CATCH Creative Approach To Combating Homelessness (Eu project co-funded by DG Social Affair n. VS/2002/010/J37 0/26). The workshop theme was Facing homeless women.
The participants were representatives of different Eu countries: Austria, Spain, Sweden, Scotland, England & Italy. The workshop language was English; the workshop outputs were presented in a plenary session. They focused mostly on the importance of "confidence" for a homeless woman. The group defined confidence for a homeless woman as a confirmation process of self-esteem.
The group discussed & focused on some differences bound to confidence:

  • confidence toward institutional services is higher if the offered programmes take in consideration the woman experiencing homelessness as a whole, with a global perspective of who every individual woman is, without focusing on singular aspects
  • social workers might become the mediator between the women needs & the institutions
Connected with the confidence issue, the group focused on the theme of "self-esteem", with the following outputs:
  • the condition of homelessness tends to constrict women to a lower self-esteem
  • the first step of every programme must be a specific support to the feminine, in order to guaranty an increase of self-esteem
  • prevention of failures must count on this basic factor, start from it, & then move forward
  • without self-esteem, every programme impacts by accident
  • the subsequent dynamic is that, while the institution tends to considered themselves “saved” & unquestioned, the woman experiences the failure again
  • prevention of failure must be based on a real liberty of choice focused on individually-based programmes, shaped on the individual self-esteem of each woman
Bound to the confidence & the self-esteem theme, the group discussed about a basic aspect which came out vividly from the role-plays: time. The issue of time has been developed as a key point, in order to keep the productive stress away:
  • the group means that women need to take-their-time to develop
    their own individual programme, & not to be fulfilled by a request of compliance to produce “good behaviours”, which are just an obligation to the programme itself
  • if women are not allowed to take their time, to make their ways, to choose their paths, then the possibilities to emancipate themselves turn to be seen as orders & obligations
The group focused on what it is related to the privacy issue, considered as a confirmation of rights. More specifically, the group considered privacy both on the homeless & the social worker point of view.
On the woman side, privacy means:
  • the confidence to be respected as individuals with civil & human rights
  • the right to be taken seriously as an individual, & to remain anonymous at the same time
On the professional side, it means:
  • being responsible to seek & develop prevention
  • develop networking strategy, also as a matter of prevention
  • always been aware that even the most honest practice is linked with some degree of social control

Some statements came out from role-play & deserved a clear evidence:
  • sometimes, professionals’ efforts don’t cause the expected responses & effects
  • the resources are almost like a house-basement
  • the individual effort in help & care must gain more space & dignity within the institutional system
  • if the failures are considered as part of the process, the whole
    process might be turned into a more sensible & understandable way, closer to the homeless women real needs
  • the individually-based efforts-&-care must perceive the woman needs instead of being a warranty for maintaining social standards
  • the real aims is not “giving” solutions, but support the change within a path that offers the dignity of choice
  • all the part of the re-inclusion process (home, ending addiction…) are just part of an integrated & holistic approach. They might never be considered as results or solutions: "what a person is" is very different from "what a person does"
  • the integrated approach doesn’t lead to a distribution of things (houses, services…) but to a process where women are taken for who they are, & supported to be what they want to be
My special thank to Ulli & Stephan for the photos

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