All services and dynamics addressed to homeless people must be led by them. In this sense, they should be informed and consulted and should be able to make decisions. On the other hand, everybody should be able to make a living out of the earnings produced by their job; protected or not. In the case of being unable to work because of health or age issues, people should receive a Minimum Insertion Benefit which grants them a dignified life.
- When someone leaves the street, he needs to fill his time and give it purpose.
- Sometimes, returning to employment is difficult because living on the street affects health.
- Many people who have lived on the street will never be financially independent, although they can do useful things.
What does Arrels do to help people feel useful?
Pieces of wood with a second life
With a simple piece of metal, wood picked up from the street and a desire to create and transform, since 2010 a group of homeless people construct stools, lamps and other pieces of furniture. The project has won awards; however, until now, the most important recognition has been a collaboration with the company Camper to decorate one of its shops with the furniture.
La Troballa workshop
For Arrels, making a necklace, earrings, a photo frame or puppets has a triple value: recovering personal and social skills, creating useful objects for others and earning money to finance activities for the workshop group.
I want to lend a hand
People who have lived on the street are getting more and more willing to lend a hand. Some of them do caretaker tasks; others collaborate painting and doing little reparations in Arrels’ flats. Others help ordering the wardrobe or in the daily tasks of the Arrels residence or help their flatmates with reduced mobility.
I’ve lived on the street and I want to talk about it
Each of the 3.000 homeless people in Barcelona has his own story. Explaining it to people raises awareness first-hand and requires a great effort by the people who have lived on the streets. At Arrels, a group of people share their testimony with the school visits and also through social networks like twitter.
At Arrels, there is a football team that trains and plays against teams of other entities of the city. What matters are not the goals, but the friendships created and the sense of responsibility and commitment which the participants of this activity get.
Organising activities (not only participating!)
A drama group, music-therapy workshops, going to the swimming pool, a press workshop, cultural visits and trips to the mountain… Leisure is crucial to the improvement of self-esteem and to recover social skills. At Arrels, the people attended can participate in different activities thoroughout the year. It’s more: they can organise and plan these activities with volunteers and professionals of the entity.
Having a job and feeling useful
A large part of the people that Arrels accompanies are not able to find employment because of their health or age, but in some cases the possibility does exist. Arrels works on employment inclusion through Mambré, a foundation launched along with three other social entities to promote labour and housing alternatives.
Forum to improve Arrels
Just as volunteers and professionals give feedback to the entity, homeless people attended also report their opinions. From their experience of living on the street and using the services offered by Arrels, homeless people have a say and give ideas to improve the support.