“Teaching how to live”. Social service representatives about the process of leaving homelessness
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In the literature on homelessness, the term ‘leaving homelessness’ is used. However, it is not specified. Intuitively, it is understood as overcoming the crisis of homelessness, leaving the shelter and living in a place where the client can act independently. Doubts are raised, regarding the period of time after which it can be considered that a person has left homelessness. The aim of the article is to show the opinions of practitioners, i.e. social workers, educators, psychologists, staff managing institutions for people without their own shelter on the interpretation of the term “leaving homelessness”. The paper presents the results of a survey carried out in 2018, among 155 practitioners representing 30 institutions (shelters, hostels, single mother houses). It shows that “leaving homelessness” is understood as leaving the shelter and the certainty that the client has been functioning independently in the social environment for at least 7–12 months. At the same time, he/she must have a job, support himself/herself, build a social network, maintaining abstinence. The survey also showed that, according to 38% of respondents, their clients are not interested in “returning home” and rather prefer to be in the shelter. This is related to their addictions, long homelessness and a sense of helplessness.
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