Using services for the homeless abroad. Polish rough sleepers in Brussels and                  Oslo                       ...
Plan of the presentation   Comparing Polish migration patterns to Brussels and Oslo   About the project and informants ...
Polish migration to Belgium and NorwayBelgium (Brussels)                                  Norway (Oslo)Older and more gend...
About the project                     Brussels                              OsloFieldwork            August 2008, February...
Provision of low-threshold services for the homeless                     Brussels                              OsloHomeles...
Provision of low-threshold services for the homelessServices used by Poles                           Brussels             ...
Exclusion of homeless migrants                       from low-threshold services   „Finally, it will be the end [of this ...
Exclusion of homeless migrants                      from low-threshold services   „Now there is a group of about 15 Poles...
ConclusionsBrussels                                            OsloResentment towards other groups                     Fea...
Thank you              Belgian part of this project has been conducted in collaboration with      Onderzoeksinstituut voor...
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Using Services for the Homeless Abroad. Polish Rough Sleepers in Brussels and Oslo

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Presentation given by Magdalena Mostowska, University of Warsaw, Poland at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Understanding Homelessness and Housing Exclusion in the New European Context", Budapest, Hungary, 2010

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Using Services for the Homeless Abroad. Polish Rough Sleepers in Brussels and Oslo

  1. 1. Using services for the homeless abroad. Polish rough sleepers in Brussels and Oslo Magdalena Mostowska University of Warsaw, Poland European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE ENHR NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
  2. 2. Plan of the presentation Comparing Polish migration patterns to Brussels and Oslo About the project and informants Provision of low-threshold services for the homeless in Brussels and Oslo Exclusion and inclusion of Poles from services Conclusions European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
  3. 3. Polish migration to Belgium and NorwayBelgium (Brussels) Norway (Oslo)Older and more gender balanced population Younger population, more men(30 000; 16 000 in Brussels, 2008) (50 000; 9 000 in Oslo, 2010) (83% work permitsSupposedly many unregistered workers for men)(20 000? in Brussels) Supposedly fewer unregistered workersLargest influx of Poles in the 1990s (from Largest migration after 2004 (from differentPodlasie, mainly to Brussels) regions, to various cities)Established Informal networks (illegal work in Supposedly less established informal networks1990s) (labor market opened May 1st, 2009) (labor market opened January 1st, 2010)Construction and domestic work (large gray Oslo 93% men in construction, underpaidzone) 75% women in cleaning (large gray zone)Pendular migration Family reunions European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
  4. 4. About the project Brussels OsloFieldwork August 2008, February 2009, January-June 2010 August-September 2009My informants ca. 80 men and women (more ca. 40 only men(street-regulars) older men)Ethnographic Public spaces, gathering places, Services, gathering places, publicfield services, experts’ interviews spaces, experts’ interviews, volunteer workRough sleepers Larger group about 100 people No larger grouppopulation Longer periods of street life Episodes of rough sleeping Well established groups in the Individuals in public space public space European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
  5. 5. Provision of low-threshold services for the homeless Brussels OsloHomelessness 995 in Brussels (2008) 6 000 in Norway (2008)survey 545 rough sleepers 1 500 in Oslo, 3% rough sleepers [city count] [questionnaires from institutions] 11% CASU clients from Eastern 2% of homeless people from Eastern Europe (2008) Europe (2008) ?? 61% of homeless people are drug or alcohol addictedProvision of Municipal, regional, non- Municipal and non-governmental,services governmental mainly via drug-prevention programs European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
  6. 6. Provision of low-threshold services for the homelessServices used by Poles Brussels OsloLow-threshold services Soup runs ++ + Soup kitchens +++ +++ Street workers/street nurses + - Food distribution + +++ Clothes distribution + ++ Showers, laundry ++ + Night shelters + -Longer-term shelters + -Emergency medical assistance ++ ++Welfare/unemployment benefits + +++Social housing (rent allowance) + ++ European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
  7. 7. Exclusion of homeless migrants from low-threshold services „Finally, it will be the end [of this place], when it turns out that 80% of services goes to the homeless Poles. This service is primarily for Belgians. People now come here [to Belgium] unprepared, they have no work, no place to live. There are dramatic situations, when someone was robbed or mugged (…) but many people don’t want to go back [to Poland], because they have stolen, or killed, or didn’t pay for their children. (…) Service is for the homeless. And primarily for the Belgians. Belgium cannot pay for those who don’t feel like working here. There’s many [Polish] people here who work hard and then it’s OK., if something dramatic happens, we have to help, but you cannot abuse this help.” (Belgian volunteer with Polish background in crisis center, Brussels, 2009.09.09) European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
  8. 8. Exclusion of homeless migrants from low-threshold services „Now there is a group of about 15 Poles coming everyday. We gave them sort of a green card for two months, because, honestly, we don’t know what to do with them. Very quickly they learned what to say at the interview, they all answer the same, we are not going anywhere with this. For Norwegians and English-speaking people we have the same rules, we can treat them individually. But for the Polish people we have no rules. We have to treat them as a group, and this is not our policy. Norwegians think that the Polish people are taking THEIR place, they come and they see them, and they say, they take MY café, MY table, MY place” (Blå Kors kontaktsenter, Oslo, 2010.03.01) 28-year old man who doesn’t drink, uses only cannabis, tells how he lived in a basement and had no shower. He went to the Salvation Army to get a shower. But they told him that it’s only for drug addicts. „What am I suppose to do? Go and buy heroin, pump it up my vain, and than I could take a shower?” (Oslo, 2010.05.11) European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
  9. 9. ConclusionsBrussels OsloResentment towards other groups Fear of exclusion (rumors) Resentment towards Norwegians, ’drug heads’ and ‘Blacks’, critical towards welfare stateRelatively stable groups of Polish rough Dynamic situation, short episodes of roughsleepers in public space sleepingEstablished Informal networks Supposedly less established informal networksRough sleeping - milder climate, tolerance for Rough sleeping – tougher weather, norough sleepers in the public space, accessible accessible night shelters; services focused onemergency night shelters drug-addicts Welfare recipients vs. undocumented workers excluded from street-level servicesConfusion about rights and what are they entitled toPoor language and social skills, familiarized marginalizationTemporal construction workers off the books as recruitment poolFamily conflicts, breakup; criminal offences and admitting to failure as causes of not ‘going back’Alcohol addiction (isolated cases of drug addicts – younger men)Accepting very poor and insecure housing, couch-surfing at friends’ places European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
  10. 10. Thank you Belgian part of this project has been conducted in collaboration with Onderzoeksinstituut voor Arbeid en Samenleving, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Norwegian part of this project has been conducted in collaboration with Norsk institutt for by- og regionforskningThis project was completed with the support granted by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway by means of co-financing from the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism as part of the Scholarship and Training Fund. European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT

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