Outcasts, Marginals, Vulnerable
From Institutional Isolation toward Social Inclusion (The Homeless People in Moldova)
Petr...
The social welfare in a transitional
country: successes
• The social work is taught at the university since 1994
• The soc...
A "new" profession in a changing
system: challenges
• Growing social inequalities and massive pauperization
(population)
•...
The Soviet welfare system: inclusive and
exclusive strategies
• Inclusive strategies (mothers, veterans, disabled, etc.)
•...
Case study: the Hosting and Guiding
Center for Homeless People in Chisinau
• Founded in 2004 by the Municipal Department o...
Center's services
• accommodation (at night, 3 months maximum,
exceptions admitted)
• food (breakfast and dinner)
• hygien...
The Center's clients in figures
• From 2004 to 2012: 1937 new beneficiaries, on the
average 215 per year
The Center's clients by gender
Clients by age
18-25 25-62 (M) 25-57 (F) 62+
215
140
464
259
By citizenship / nationality
Other social categories
Disabled
Pensionaries
Ex prisoners
Orphanage graduates
Others* 185
65
410
172
226
* Others: alcoho...
ID papers
The loss of home: some causes
• Family problems (nuclear and extended)
• Alcohol and drug addiction (see family problems)
...
Achievements (to date)
• 86 (8%) - assisted to get welfare allowance ("ajutor
social")
• 248 (23%) - assisted to find a jo...
Challenges
• Limited autonomy (to the Municipal Department of
Social Work) - institutional rigidity
• High demand (for she...
Temporary solutions and palliatives
• Informal regulation ("secondary adjustment" of the
staff to the institutional rules)...
Future plans
• To create a day center for homeless people
• To create a "social ambulance" service (for emergency aid)
• T...
Oucasts, Marginals, Vulnerable: From Institutional Isolation toward Social Inclusion (The Homeless People in Moldova)
Oucasts, Marginals, Vulnerable: From Institutional Isolation toward Social Inclusion (The Homeless People in Moldova)
Oucasts, Marginals, Vulnerable: From Institutional Isolation toward Social Inclusion (The Homeless People in Moldova)
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Oucasts, Marginals, Vulnerable: From Institutional Isolation toward Social Inclusion (The Homeless People in Moldova)

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The welfare system in Moldova is going through deep structural reforms. The legacy of the Soviet welfare system, centered on the institutionalization of certain categories of citizens (persons with disabilities, elderly, addicted, homeless, etc.), is still prevalent in the current welfare system. During the post-Soviet transition, the low public investment in the development and maintenance of welfare infrastructure and the massive pauperization rendered the welfare system in this country even more inefficient and cumbersome. Moreover, throughout the 1990s and 2000s, observers denounced a number of cases of human rights violations occurring in some public residential institutions. Starting from the mid-2000s, the Moldovan Government (first and foremost the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection) carried out a strategy aiming at ensuring the social inclusion of vulnerable and formerly stigmatized persons instead of their further institutionalization. This strategy, supported by several international NGOs and programs (e.g. Keystone, Open Society Foundations, etc.) is challenged by a number of significant factors: the poor funding capacity of public authorities, the inefficient management of most welfare institutions, the very recent tradition of the social work profession, the authoritarian welfare mentality and practices, the quite widespread discriminatory stereotypes of the local population against some categories of vulnerable people (e.g. people with disabilities), and not least the passive attitude of the clients themselves towards the social services, which they often continue to associate with a non-existent strong and paternalistic state.
In conclusion, we will present case material regarding a public residential institution in Chisinau (the Hosting and Guiding Center for Homeless People) founded in 2004, will discuss its successes, but also its challenges and further development perspectives.

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Oucasts, Marginals, Vulnerable: From Institutional Isolation toward Social Inclusion (The Homeless People in Moldova)

  1. 1. Outcasts, Marginals, Vulnerable From Institutional Isolation toward Social Inclusion (The Homeless People in Moldova) Petru NEGURĂ, Marcela DIȚA, Maria VÎRLAN 21-25 August, Antalya, Turkey
  2. 2. The social welfare in a transitional country: successes • The social work is taught at the university since 1994 • The social work is officially recognized as a profession from 1998 (each municipality has a social worker) • Social insurance system - stabilized • New programs, strategies, laws were adopted and carried out in order to support the social development (family, children), social inclusion (de-institutionalization of disabled, of children in residential care), non discrimination (minorities), gender equality, etc. • Emergence of a wide NGO sector, etc.
  3. 3. A "new" profession in a changing system: challenges • Growing social inequalities and massive pauperization (population) • Strong discriminatory stereotypes (population) • Overcentralization and institutional rigidity (state): tough management and reluctance to reform • "Paternalistic" welfare mentality (state and population) • Institutionalization rather than social inclusion
  4. 4. The Soviet welfare system: inclusive and exclusive strategies • Inclusive strategies (mothers, veterans, disabled, etc.) • Exclusion, discrimination, criminalization ("social parasites": beggars, vagrants, prostitutes, "spongers" (tuneiadtsy), alcoholics, etc.): the 1961 "anti-parasite" law • The work (socially useful) presented as central value and main criterion for the distribution of social services ("кто не работает, тот не ест")
  5. 5. Case study: the Hosting and Guiding Center for Homeless People in Chisinau • Founded in 2004 by the Municipal Department of Social Work (Chisinau) with a grant from Moldova Social Investment Fund (Swedish funding) • Main objective: to shelter and to orient homeless people from Chisinau, contributing to their social inclusion • Capacity: 70 people (in frosty nights, twice more) • Eligibility for clients: adults before retirement (57/62), without severe disabilities, contagious diseases, no pregnant women, no drunk or drugged people
  6. 6. Center's services • accommodation (at night, 3 months maximum, exceptions admitted) • food (breakfast and dinner) • hygiene • primary healthcare • legal advice • psychological counseling and social assistance
  7. 7. The Center's clients in figures • From 2004 to 2012: 1937 new beneficiaries, on the average 215 per year
  8. 8. The Center's clients by gender
  9. 9. Clients by age 18-25 25-62 (M) 25-57 (F) 62+ 215 140 464 259
  10. 10. By citizenship / nationality
  11. 11. Other social categories Disabled Pensionaries Ex prisoners Orphanage graduates Others* 185 65 410 172 226 * Others: alcoholics, drug users, prostitutes, failed émigrés, etc.
  12. 12. ID papers
  13. 13. The loss of home: some causes • Family problems (nuclear and extended) • Alcohol and drug addiction (see family problems) • Victims of fraudulous business with flats • Failure of integration after release from prison (loss of belongings) • Failed emigration • Etc.
  14. 14. Achievements (to date) • 86 (8%) - assisted to get welfare allowance ("ajutor social") • 248 (23%) - assisted to find a job • 151 (14%) - assisted to get permanent accommodation in the public home for elderly • 162 (15%) - assisted to face psychological and social problems • The other 40%: back to the street (Are they hopeless?)
  15. 15. Challenges • Limited autonomy (to the Municipal Department of Social Work) - institutional rigidity • High demand (for shelter and services) and low institutional capacity
  16. 16. Temporary solutions and palliatives • Informal regulation ("secondary adjustment" of the staff to the institutional rules) • "Paternalistic" / "authoritarian" approach in dealing with clients ("keeping the discipline") - professional "habits" (of the former policemen staff)
  17. 17. Future plans • To create a day center for homeless people • To create a "social ambulance" service (for emergency aid) • To adjust the Center's formal regulation to clients' real necessities and staff capacities • Lobbying the national and municipal administration to improve the legislation and promoting policies in order to facilitate the social inclusion of the less ressourceful people (the legal regulation concerning the welfare allowances, the issuance of ID papers, medical assistance, professional training for adults, etc.)

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