Dignity & Well-being Project EN

European  exchanges and  inter-visions project
concerning the pathways and the interventions

about  homeless  and  mentally ill people

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The construction of Europe cannot be achieved if not within the Europe of  Citizen  &  Solidarity

where you live well, there is your home


BACKGROUND:     "When the solution of complex situations seems impossible, how to intervene ? "

Are becoming more frequent, from professionals working on the front line, questions similar to this, in the face of increasingly serious problems of the homeless and mentally ill, who live in situations of chronic illness in the street or in institutions and emergency reception .  Faced with complex situations, similar to both social and health needs and different contexts, traditions and laws, in live and survive ' chronically 'homeless - mentally ill, which answers and proposals tailored to the needs and respectful of the person and his rights would still be possible to offer?   What types of innovative interventions to explore?  such as dynamic synergistic raise? which projects and recommend strategies? 

Similar questions are asked ever more frequent by professionals working on the front line  with people who live in situations of chronic mental illness principally in the street but also in institutions and emergency reception centres.  What answers and proposals is it still possible to offer?   What types of innovative interventions to explore?  What dynamics and synergies to raise?

These are the questions that - no coherent responses are convincing and effective - are likely to demotivate more and more operators of this difficult field.



This theme and the basic question  was at the centre of discussion during the 13th conference SMES-Europe (Rome, March 6 to 8, 2013) and given the interest aroused among participants it was decided to launch a European project of exchanges and inter-vision concerning the efficient practices of effective prevention, support, assistance and inclusion of homeless people with mental problems. The project would essentially start with descriptions of real life situations and assessment of how effective given interventions were to proceed to point to innovative ways of doing things in order not only to raise awareness and to educate but also to present concrete proposals for incorporation into the policies in the field of prevention, assistance and inclusion.


KEY WORDS  (which will be thoroughly analysed in the course of the seminars, workshops and conferences):

  • Dignity and well-being : basic notions describing the objectives.

  • Homeless and mentally ill people : person both suffering : by serious mental problems and extreme poverty and social exclusion.

  • Chronically on the street or in institutions:   the importance of the time factor in preventing the settling in a negative situation,

  • Partnership and partners : public and private sector, associations of professionals and volunteers working in the field of poverty and mental health.

  • House - accommodation   (home - housing ...: wherever you live well, there is your home.)  

  • Responsibility and co-responsibility (possibly also other notions such as fundamental rights and basic needs: subjective - objective, social ties and their rupture; treatment and harm reduction ...)


Through the exchange of knowledge and the analysis of experiences, in relationship to these extreme precariousness situations with no appearing positive solution, we intends to highlight effective alternatives in approach, support and guidance of these suffering persons in order to facilitate – with due respect for his/her personal dignity – his/her access to "physical - mental - social well-being" . We propose in a first time to analyze the similar and common elements  of the needs and of the implicit or explicit demands and requests of these persons and subsequently to identify the answers and the innovative interventions that mostly seem to unlock these complex situations.

A great collaboration and net-working between  workers of Institutions, Organisations, Associations involved in this field is absolutely for realise efficient synergy and turn these daily practices into effective models of networking intervention.



Homeless people (living mainly on the street) with mental health problems, characterized by accumulation of deprivation that exacerbates their exclusion and that interact  - to each other - reinforce health /mental health  problems.

This persons survive in a situation of total social breakdown, refusing any form of institutionalized cure and programmed care, but who - at the same time  - seem needs of real and humanistic support of social solidarity and protection.

PROMOTOR SMES-Europa  with its international network

PARTICIPANTS Delegates Associations - Organizations - Institutions  active in the field of social exclusion and mental health, with particular focus on the people who live in situations of neglect on the street.


2014-15  :  1° PHASE  of   D-&-WB PROJECT 

  • finalization of the project and collecte of information about participants:  through the members of the Board of SMES (Brussels, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris and Marseilles, Rome, Warsaw, Madrid and Barcelona), to extend the invitation to Associations, Organizations, Institutions to participate in this initiative.

  • collection of  “life stories"/study cases of homeless people, with mental health problems, living permanently in the street.

  • local workshops:  to promote and realise workshops, meetings of focus groups  in several European cities in order to share and analyze situations and contexts, interventions and partnerships, priorities and proposals concerning  this emblematic cases

  • first interim seminar  where those who prepared case studies will meet to discuss and analyze the material as well as innovative and alternatives approaches in order to reach a final synthesis.

2015  :  2° PHASE  of   D-&-WB PROJECT

1st  semester implementation and analysis of profiles   (cf. profiles)

2nd semester:  one workshop and exchange initiative :

  • 1st Workshop : Warszawa  2-3  October 2015

    The target  of these exchanges and intervisions programs is the people - in permanent way - homeless, in extremely health & social precariousness and exclusion.
    In what kind of relation with proposed institutional services ?  what kind of co-working between :

    • 1.  health services: in hospital and in community, both general emergency and psychiatric services

    • 2.  social assistance services :  emergency & temporal  shelters - drop inn centres - dispensaries ...

    • 3.  home & community services:  family home,  supported housing,  community apartment  and similar

    • 4.  participation citizenship:  adequate job, recognized role; re-capacitating.

2016  :  3° PHASE  of   D-&-WB PROJECT

  • 2nd Workshop : Athens  14-16 April  2016 -  second  exchange & intervision program

  • 3rd Workshop :  London  or  Copenhagen   (October 2016)   third exchange & intervision program

The objective of this phase is to finalize the conclusion of exchanges & inter-visions  programs in perspective of the final conference and hearing in EU Parliament:

  • XIV  European SMES Conference :  Lisbon   16-17-18  March  2017

  • Hearing in EU Parliament :                Brussels  March 2017

TOGETHER:   health services <-->   assistance services    <-->   housing services    <-->   reintegration services  in  what  way  contribute for promote and increase Dignity & Well-being,  insuring the more adequate and sustainable answers for

  • prevention, primary and secondary;

  • support and treatment;

  • participation and inclusive orientation  .

WORKSHOPS METHOD   in  Warsaw - Amsterdam - London

  • Presentation and analysis of life stories with particular focus on interaction between social situation and health status, dignity and well-being –  3-5 stories per country providing - at a glance - a contextual reading of the situation

  • Presentation of cases and interventions should be practical and concise (2 pages max.). To ensure anonymity of the person it is advised to remove any identifying data.

  • Mutual learning through exchange of experiences and knowledge.

  • Aspects that should be of particular concern for the content and evaluation of the “life stories”:

  • Life history and context: especially in relation to the question of "health and dignity " of a person.

  • Health: starting from certified diagnosis (or diagnostic hypothesis) analyze the relationship and interaction between social conditions and health / mental illness.

  • Interventions : prevention (primary and secondary), assistance and support, inclusive orientation and – what  were the expected results , what difficulties encountered, what results achieved.

  • Network operators : presentation of associations, organizations , institutions which have intervened , and their roles in the evolution of the situation

  • Proposals: whether result positive or negative– what were the decisive influences.


  • Training and mutual learning

  • Multidisciplinary synergies and networking

  • Presentation and analysis of alternative practices and effective in relation to:

    • Prevention (primary and secondary)

    • Treatment and support

    • After-care and guidance

  • Advocacy and Lobbying



The XIV European SMES Conference will held in  LISBON  16-17-18 March  2017

The Hearing in European Parliament will conclude the project in  Brussels March  2017

The 3 EXCHANGES / inter-vision programs  in Warsaw , Amsterdam,  London will offer the main input and inspiration for the conference :

     -     When the solution of complex situations seems impossible:   how to listen  for a deepest
            understanding ?         
When the body speaks through his silence and his wounds :   
who will listen and hear? 
            before intervening?


TOGETHER  - attentive to their word - we will prepare the conference with new ideas, innovative projects, priority recomendations    
concerning  : health services <-->   shelter services    <-->   housing services    <-->   reintegration  services    for inclusion.

In what way these services
*   will contribute for promotion of  Dignity & Well-being of each one of these people who live in extreme
     poverty  condition, exclusion and with mental heath  problems ?

*   will insure the more adequate answers to complex needs, primary and secondary prevention, sustenability
     in  treatment (cure) and in support (care) ? 

*    will promote participation and inclusive orientation .

SMES-Europa aisbl  :   smeseu@smes-europa.org   tel. +32.2.538 58 87,   Mob +32.475.634710    skype: smes.europa