Thanks to financing from the European Commission as a part of its Employment and Social Innovation Program (EaSI), since 1 October 2016 we have been running a project called: ‘HomeLab: Integrated Housing and Labor Services in the Social Rental Enterprise Model’.
The ‘HomeLab’ project is realized simultaneously in four countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The program leader is the Hungarian Metropolitan Research Institute. Outside Habitat for Humanity Poland the project is operated by Romodrom (Czechia), People in Need (Slovakia), Budapest Institute, Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta, From Street to Home! Association (Hungary). The core of the project is creating and testing in various legal and institutional conditions the Social Rental Enterprise.
What is the Social Rental Enterprise?
Referring to Western models, the Social Rental Enterprise was founded for the poor, who are unable to achieve decent living conditions. The Enterprise provides two basic services:
- Housing service
- Employment service
As a part of its housing service, the Enterprise rents inexpensive private and social apartments and then it sublets them to those in need. The Enterprise offers a guarantee package to the property owners:
- Long-term and safe tenancy,
- Guarantee of prompt payment of rent and bills
- Careful verification of potential tenants
- Monitoring the housing use
- After the lease ends, the housing will be returned in a condition no worse than at the beginning of the lease
Additionally, as a part of its housing service, the Enterprise can renovate the apartment cheaper than commercial subcontractors.
Apart from the housing service, the Enterprise assists its client in finding stable employment. Participants of the program independently cover their lease costs, therefore securing their position on the job market is a task equally important as providing them with housing support. They are offered counsel and job broking.
The pivotal role in the activities of the Enterprise have the social rental specialists, who are employees of Habitat Poland. These employees maintain direct individual contact with each client, and moreover, they are responsible for:
- Maintaining contact with the apartment owners
- Monitoring the housing use
- Ensuring the employment of the Enterprise’s clients
- Supporting the clients’, should they lose their jobs
Partners of the project
- Salvation Army in Poland
- Caritas of the Warsaw Archdiocese
- Różnosfera Foundation
- City of Warsaw, Housing Policy Office
- Monar Wyszków
- Monar Zaczerlany
- Social Welfare Center in Wola, Warsaw
- Legal Intervention Association
- Open Doors Association
- Spoza Association
In order to determine effectiveness of the Social Rental Enterprise evaluation studies are undertaken. What distinguishes the Social Rental Enterprise is the integrated services package comprising of both the housing and employment service. Because of that, during the studies the effectiveness of the Enterprise (offering the integrated services package) and other institutions offering only one of these services, by e.g. providing access to communal rental housing, employment services offered by e.g. the Labor Office or employment agencies, socio-integrative services offered by social welfare centers or NGOs.
The study is made based on two comparative groups:
A housing group of 40 – clients of the Enterprise,
A control group of 40 – persons participating only in the study.
The study results will be published in the evaluation report summarizing the execution of the project and provided to the European Commission.