Without a definition of the context and without a precise impact analysis, without the confrontation with the achieved net results, “skills and competence” are just as generous as general and superficial.
Like in all relational dynamics, the point is always set on their inter-personal signification. The point lays in the answer to a double-levelled question: “what skills? … for what competence?”.
As I often remind during my work, the real issue is the exercise of the competence, which means the way individuals use their competence for. This point is often related to the power-dynamics: when the exercise of competence on the competences is lacking, there is usually an movement of self-confirmation, which might be more or less conscious, but it is always an attempt of narcissism.
On the contrary, if a care-worker is honest on the exercise of the competence on the way he/she uses its own competences, he/she won't probably much involved into a power-games, as the focus is on the attempt of understanding the other, of being useful for the other.
This point leads straight to the growing gap between words and action, and, even worst, to the discomforting gap between actions and results, the chasm between equity and net results. Excessive pessimism? It could be ... but ... "Eradicate extreme poverty" was a slogan set in the Lisbon Strategy, launched in 2000 to bring results before 2010.
In 2005 the Lisbon Strategy was revised. The new Revisited Lisbon Strategy set "Ending Homeless" as one of its main goal, while 2010 was remembered as the “European year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion".
2010 was the year which saw the newborn ten-year strategy "Europe 2020": it fixed the goal of liberating 20 million people from their condition of poverty by 2020.
"To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger" was the first goal of the Millennium Campaign, launched by UN in 2000 and aiming to bring the results by 2015.
The "Post-2015 Development Agenda" project us in 2030.
Ending homelessness is a goal if you do nice and profound talks in a comfortable house. If the structural causes of poverty are not questioned, it doesn't make any substantial change if you live in the streets, of you are under eviction and risk to get there soon. The process risks to be the following:
- it is not “politically correct”, nor “politically effective”, to question the systematical & economical causes of poverty;
- vice versa, it is “politically correct” & “politically effective” to design arabesques on deinstitutionalisation, innovation, & other Columbus' eggs;
- instead of investments on systematic & economical responses in term of prevention, tailored solution & impact analysis, we just talk on what we observe (which is quite a passive position, indeed):
- evictions keep on massively; people lose their apartments; the same banks, which created the crisis, increase their repossessions, create new tenancies and/or resell the properties, and, with the surplus, make donations to housing policies.
The migration issue.
In the mid of the 90s, in many Eu contexts, it happened to hear that the condition of homelessness were radically changing because of the flux of migrants from former easter non-eu countries. It happened to hear that the migrants from former eastern countries would have changed the homeless debate radically.
In the following 15 years, two things happened: the former eastern countries became eu member states, and received massive economical funds to increase their quality of life; meanwhile, the new Eu markets found a way to transform those fluxes of migrants into low-paid work-force. Other five years and those who benefited form this situation generated the crisis: we all read about the firstly-collapsing banks which have been saved, the construction bubble, the speculation, the austerity measures impacting on people.
Every parent knows that the real question is not the fever (the symptom), but what the cause. Not the symptom, but the structure. I do not think there are acceptable reasons to consider taking care of a child in a way different from caring for another person.
- to recognise individuals as assets
- to build on people capabilities, and capacities
- to learn to share real mutual responsibilities
- to engage peers while referring to professionals
- to blur any form of power games and entrapment.
- a descriptive level: some sort of co-production already takes place in the delivery of services as people who use services and carers work together to achieve individual outcomes following an holistic and tailored-approach, but activities cannot challenge the way services are delivered. At this level, the co-production is not really recognised; subsequently, people who benefit from it is not fully recognised as the real subject of care, which is still ascribed to the virtues of the services
- an intermediate level: there is more recognition and mutual respect, for example where people who use services are involved in the recruitment and training of professionals
- a full transformative level: new relationships between staff and people who use services are created where people who use services are recognised as experts in their own right.
This sounds indeed as an emotional relationship, which is exactly what it is. When I am asked for my professional help, I used to say that I do not know much about any other person, but I can offer my support in helping to carry out their answers, and that I will never for sure bring my answer to them.
The “well-being” allows to overpass the horizon of satisfaction, to enter the realm of eros.