Press release: State to begin solving the problem homelessness

Montenegro needs to establish an evidence of the homeless and Poposal for a Law on Social and Child Protection shall clearly define the type, jurisdiction and methods of providing social services for this population

How is the constitutional definition of Montenegro as a welfare state and the state of social justice affirmed in practice, confirms the fact that for the first time in Montenegrin law term ” homeless” is defined in the Proposal for a Law on Social and Child Protection from the 2012th year.

Institute Alternative consider good that the Proposal for a Law on Social and Child Protection is returned for revision, particularly in the area of demarcation precise division of responsibilities between the centers for social work and local governments. As the priority is on the social services development , Institute believes that the new Proposal for a Law on Social and Child Welfare should specifically define a shelter for homeless, and that these services should be within the jurisdiction of local governments.

Aware of the financial constraints of local governments to provide these services specifically for the needs of the local population, Institute claims that a homeless shelter should exist even in those local governments in which the problem of homelessness is the most spread. Therefore, it is necessary that the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in collaboration with all social actors, primarily CSWs and NGOs, as soon establish the evidence of these individuals. The fact that the Ministry does not dispose neither with close number of homeless in Montenegro, indicate that this population is deprived of the protection of fundamental human rights, and that homelessness as the most serious social problem is ignored by the state.

Establishing of social welfare information system (social card) will certainly establish the evidence of homeless people, but note that the deadline for completing this project is the end of 2014. Uncertainty of further usage of temporary accommodation (shelter) by homeless people in Podgorica, warns about the urgency of solving this problem.

Although the existing efforts to provide temporary homeless shelter in the area of Podgorica represent a big step forward, uncertain future of the users of this service alarms that solving of homelessness must be approached in a different manner. Having in mind that an initiator in solving the problem of homelessness, at least at the local level, was the NGO “Action for Human Rights,” sufficiently proves the existing need for closer cooperation between the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the civil sector. Here, Institute refers not only on participation of civil sector in policy development, legislation and other public policy proposals making, but also on the efforts of the Ministry to focus more on the demands of civil society dealing with this issue.

In addition to providing permanent accommodation, for shelter users must be provided psycho-social support and assistance in order to achieve their social inclusion.

Aware that homelessness is complex problem which involves many law dilemmas and questions, Institute alternative urges that the state does not forget that people without a place for living mustn’t be treated as deprived but full righted citizens of Montenegro.

Dragana Radović
Public policy researcher

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