Read the stories of people, who have found strength in themselves to change their lives.
You know, some situations in our work are more challenging.
Mr. D. is a polite, kind, humble and at the same time the most hard-working person from last year's work therapy. However, Mr. D. had problems and his successful integration failed. He was offered to live in the woods in an old, unstable cabin in the wood without electricity for repairing a few things there. It's a really miserable cabin.
It was Monday and Mr. D. called us. With a low voice and asking if we can help him and bring basic clothes and hygiene to the hospital. He dropped out in the bus and has two broken neck. As he has debts at the health insurance company, he was embarrassedly asking us if it was possible for us to pay the full amount for the neck fixation collar. We responded immediately with a purchase and within an hour we handed everything over to the nurse. He has due to have surgery on Tuesday.
It was Wednesday 11am and Mr. D. was standing in front of our door, shaking and asking with his eyes if he can enter to our integration center. With a collar around his neck and two bags in his hand. We have been in shocked. Why are you here? "I have bronchitis, so they are postponing my broken neck surgery for another week. I was released for home treatment " He had been sitting outside on a bench in the city all night. He couldn't go to the cabin in the wood. Of course.
We remained in shock, but we had to react extremely quickly. Our colleague, br. Marius, have an apartment for elderly people in need and he had one free bed. He immediately agreed to his location. We took him to his brother Marius and Mr. D. may finally be in home treatment. Next week we will take him for an operation in the hospital.
We can't handle every situation with a professional perspective. It has hit us and we cannot say what we would do if br. Marius didnt have a free bed. Having a home is necessary especially in these situations.
He has been a really humble, kind and intelligent man. He has a diagnosis of pathological gambling combined with alcohol dependence, and this, of course, hampered his life. He worked only illegally, slept on benches around the city and missed all the money he earned. You can imagine where they went.
He came to an integration center for homeless people. Clean, showered, shaved. He said of himself that he was really hardworking and wanted a different life. He didn't like it that way, he had been to addiction treatment twice before and was gradually trying to get it under control. Mentally and physically. With our help, he filed for personal bankruptcy and found a new job. And then another, and in a few months another. It was a struggle in which we saw a man unable to put his life together.
The great thing was that he really managed to keep his addictions under control and in time he also found a good job, where he had a pretty nice team and provided accommodation.
However, the Covid-19 deprived him of this. Without any money, he returned to the bench where we found him. However, it was not a negative encounter. He had an interview scheduled for the first time for a permanent job. At the same time, we told him that we knew about one lady who would like to support a homeless person with a chance to a better life. She paid for his accommodation for the first month. He doesn't have to worry about coming back to the bench for months to come. The Orange Foundation, which cares about human stories, has decided to provide us with funding so that it can be part of supported housing.
He was hired to work. He is still the same humble, kind and intelligent person who is easy to talk to you about.
He woke up in the morning, cleaned up and went to work. He worked as a taxi driver on his car. He was friendly and communicative, so he drove the people all day and had a classic life debate with them. His working hours ended in the evening. He parked, stepped out of the car, opened the back door, pulled off the blanket and tried to fall asleep.
He woke up in the morning, cleaned up and went to work. At the crossroads he saw the sign NGO STOPA Slovensko- an integration center for homeless people. After two weeks of circling, he parked once, opened the door, and entered the integration center. He said he needed help. Since he got divorced, he has been working as a taxi driver, sleeping in a car, having huge debts, and almost all of his earnings will be taken by an executor. But he has an amazing girlfriend. She is kind and nice, she knows about his situation and it looks like a serious relationship between them. She offered him a living together, but first she asks him to organize his life. To go personal bankruptcy and find a better job.
At the Integration Center for homeless People, he wrote a new CV and filed for personal bankruptcy. After a few days he parked, opened the door to one firm and sat at the interview. Then he went into the car and started with the knowledge that he was waiting for him last week as a taxi driver sleeping in his car.
He felt lucky, the work of the doorman was great and he hoped that his girlfriend did not regret living together. He tried to be patient at work, despite the fact that the executor had devoured him for a few months.
One day he opened the door to the integration center and shouted "finally I have no debts."
A year later he woke up next to his wife in the morning and went to work.
Some stories last years, some lasts two days.
On Monday, a low-threshold center for homeless people contacted us. They were joined by an elderly lady who had worked for many years as a nurse abroad, saying she had been on the street for a week and begging for help. We immediately responded to this information and arranged an immediate meeting with us in the integration center. Mrs. K. has overcame a serious illness and at the same time her husband's death. Against this background, she was affected by the restitution and her husband refused to live with her in their family home.
This has started homelessness.
The first night at the dormitory meant the documents were stolen, and there was a fear that caused her to choose "I would rather sleep on the street". These experiences are the starting point for homeless people to choose the street rather than a dormitory.
But here comes the good part :). Many people trust our work and send us jobs for homeless people. We could immediately take advantage of one of them. Mrs. K. went to the interview the next day, which she successfully passed and is again employed as a nurse. After working hours, however, he no longer finds himself in dilemmas, whether the street or dormitory. Through our Housing + system, she has been rented in an apartment where she will spend the month of December and then a new employer will provide her with decent accommodation from the New Year.
For more than eight years she has been watching for her grandparents all days and nights. She has a great relationship with them. But after their death, she found out that she was entitled to a care allowance of which she was unaware. And that means she has not been paying health insurance for years. She doesn't blame anyone, she claims that she should have collected this information herself. Thousands of debts are already there. After the death of her grandparents, she could not stay in their apartment, so she suddenly lived on the street from day to day. Mrs. S. was sad, shocked and afraid. We met her and she joined our work therapy. After its completion, we found a job for a permanent employment relationship, contributions to the health insurance company and agreed with the bailiff on gradual repayments of their debts.
Two years has gone.
Mrs. S. broke her hand, after healing the wound she was dismissed from work, had no money in her wallet and the hostel urged payment of rent. If she doesn't pay, she would have to leave. Where? On street. It took her a long time to come to us, feeling shame that she was falling into homelessness again. However, it came and so the cycle began again. This time she was more aggressive, fighting for months on everything she was entitled to. She started work last week, which she enjoys. We remain in contact with Mrs. S. and this time we believe that she will never be afraid to ask for help, whatever it may be.
To say "I need help" is never a shame. It's courage.
When we had a lecture at ÚVTOS Želiezovce, Mr. M. remembered us. He came to us a month after his release with the desire to be a part of work therapy. At the very first meeting, he pleased us by talking about what he could do. He registered with the Labor Office, recalled the resocialization and protection allowance and began to carry out activation work. After their completion, he joined us for work therapy and participated in a debt relief consultation. He earned some brigades in the afternoon and slept in the dormitory at night. When he thought the situation in his life had stabilized a little, he was robbed of him with his money, documents and work clothes. The process of retrofitting began again, but he took it with humility. Daily motivational talks began about stabilizing the emotions he was experiencing. In particular, they concerned changes in his situation that did not happen as quickly as M. had imagined. He longed for a decent self-living, where he could relax for "the classic work that everyone has." The job was a big point, the unsuccessful interviews made him feel hopeless.
After long discussions in our team, we decided to provide him with a partial housing allowance under Housing +. Once we told him, it turned out how much housing was his desire. He spent the whole afternoon searching for room rentals, calling the landlords, and going on tours. After less than 2 weeks he enthusiastically called us to find a room in a family house and can move immediately.
Today is his first day at work.
We met Mr. O. for the first time in February this year, he came to our office motivated to make a big difference in his life. For more than 20 years he worked in various countries and eventually returned to Slovakia. He is not seeing to one eye and he is having great leg problems, he would be entitled to a half disability pension. He was prevented by several thousand debt in the health insurance company, which did not allow him to go to a specialist for the disability pension. We had an agreed deadline for personal bankruptcy to set up a bank account and find decent work. Consequently, you would be able to pay for your accommodation from work, leaving your life on the street. However, when you live on that street, it's hard to concentrate on what will be done in a few months. You can hardly think that in a few months he could be delayed, he could find work and accommodation, he could go to an eye doctor, and he could have half the disability pension. You need to survive from day to day. And so Mr. O. believed people who offered him a farm job with accommodation outside Bratislava. We haven't seen him for 4 months since then. The deadline for personal bankruptcy fell and he did not apply for permanent residence in Bratislava.
We met him last week. He came back, saying that he had nothing, as he did not receive money for the months worked on the farm. He would like to recall everything that was planned at the beginning of the year. He begged us to trust him again. And we trust and will accompany him again in that change.
At the beginning of her work therapy, Mrs. J. was quiet, scared and crying. Only after a few days she told us that she was worried about her adult son, with whom she used to be in an abandoned rusty caravan in a forest. A few days he could not stand on his feet, his paralysis began to pass into his hands. Together with her we went to visit her son. He was lying skinny, exhausted and ungoverned in the caravan. He agreed to be transported to the hospital where he was hospitalized for neurology. This meant a complete turnaround for Mrs. J. Her incredible fear for her son was reduced by the intensive care of the doctors. Our presence at the exams showed her that if we offer help, we really mean it honestly. In the following days she began to fight for herself more. She moved from the caravan to the dormitory, filed at the Labor Office, asked for financial and humanitarian assistance, and met the strict conditions to delay all executions. For several months, she went to work therapy every day and then to her son, who was transferred to a rehabilitation facility from the hospital. After finishing her work therapy she attended a nursing course and is currently working as a nurse. She has a job, my living and the latest news about her son is that after a year she can not only go through a few steps, but also the functionality of her hands is gradually returning. Mrs. J. is an example of a strong and courageous woman for us.
When I was wondering how to talk to you about the story of Mr. P., I was afraid. Knowing confidently how he has brilliantly grabbed with difficulty in his life, that´s precious. And written about him, is like revealing something very personal to the whole world. In short, his story is about how a man and his family can make up for quite bad actions. Under the influence of alcohol, he was aggressive and experienced hallucinations, suffered from depression and suicidal tendencies. Subsequently, he overcame many treatments for alcohol dependence and pathological gambling, until he finally took the strongest will and decided to change everything. He began to work to change himself and to change his life. During his work therapy he regained working habits, learned how to deal with finances, how to handle difficult situations without alcohol, went through personal bankruptcy and began to pay alimony. Subsequently, he accepted the offer of one device that needed a man to help out for 2 weeks - to paint the fence. It is 3 years now. Mr. P. has his own home in this social facility, cares for their garden and surroundings, but in particular cares for himself. He goes on hiking, sports and devotes his time to those who still need that strong.
Almost a year and a half ago, we met Mr. M. during the streetwork service. He told us that he got on the street because of alcohol. He and his wife lived together in a flat, but he was more interested in alcohol, there was a divorce, and Mr. M. stayed on the street despite all his efforts and attempts to employ. We have intensified our work with Mr. M. as he had a great interest in changing his life. After 3 months of our meeting, he volunteered for an alcoholic treatment that was not easy, but he managed it brilliantly. After his return he was part of the working therapy through our organization, where he revitalized the environment of Bratislava together with other clients. He was strongly motivated by his re-contact with his daughters last 10 years ago. Every day we focused on his fears and motivation, supporting him in getting new papers and also solving his executions and debts. At present Mr. M. is in the process of lengthening, has been abstaining for 9 months, is properly employed, has decent housing and is in contact with his daughters. After so many years, he managed to stand on his own feet and even motivate other homeless people to find strength and change their lives.