Sunday, 17 October 2021

Vagrancy in Croatia Increases by 20% This Year - Večernji List

ZAGREB, 17 Oct, 2021- A recent court ruling under which a 55-year-old man from Knin was found guilty of vagrancy and given a conditional sentence of 15 days in prison has brought attention to the issue of vagrancy in Croatia, which has increased by 20 percent this year compared with last year, Večernji List newspaper said earlier this week.

According to data provided by the Ministry of the Interior, 408 persons were reported for vagrancy and begging in 2020, while 490 such cases were recorded in the first eight months of this year, the newspaper said, noting that vagrancy is an offence under the Public Order and Peace Offences Act.

In Croatia, vagrancy is punishable by a fine of between 25 and 100 euros or a prison sentence of up to 30 days. The Knin man was given a conditional prison term of 15 days, but he will not go to prison if he does not repeat this or similar offence over the next year. The 60 kuna (8 euros) he "earned" by begging was taken away from him and will be returned to the injured parties. Because of his financial situation, he was exempted from paying court costs, Večernji List said.

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Friday, 8 October 2021

Croatia Sets Aside €2.7 bn to Combat Poverty

ZAGREB, 8 Oct 2021 - The Labour, Family and Social Policy Ministry's state secretary, Marija Pletikosa, on Friday told a conference on homelessness in Split that Croatia had allocated almost HRK 20 billion in the period from 2021 to 2027 to combat poverty and social exclusion.

"The National Plan to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion in Croatia for the period from 2021 to 2027 foresees and allocation of almost HRK 20 billion," Pletikosa said at the 15th national conference on homelessness.

According to Pletikosa, that money will be disbursed to implement several measures and services that will be provided for the purpose of combatting poverty in Croatia. She added that the measures also include providing assistance to  the homeless.

"Given that homelessness has been recognised on the global level as a growing problem, in the coming period the Ministry will continue to work in synergy in cooperation with other key stakeholders to improve policies directed towards protecting the homeless," she said.

She added that in the coming period homeless people will be accommodated during "extreme winter conditions" in premises that will be ensured by large cities and county centre cities.

Drago Lelas from the Split-based MoST NGO said that there were currently 45 homeless people in Split and 35 were accommodated in homeless shelter centres, however, ten addicts or those suffering from grave mental issues refused help.

"There are about 2,000 people in Croatia who are considered to be homeless as defined by the law and of that number 400 are accommodated in shelters, which is the capacity of the 14 shelters that exist in Croatia. The rest are out in the street," said Lelas.

He added that Croatia has still not taken over a typology relating to the homeless, which describes living in inappropriate housing conditions without electricity and water, in sheds, caravans and the like. Based on that typology, Lelas underscored, Croatia would have about ten thousand homeless people.

He also underscored that since the outbreak of the pandemic, all 14 homeless shelters in Croatia had registered only one case of being positive with coronavirus, and that being in Zagreb.

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Thursday, 1 July 2021

International Ethnology and Folklore Society Conference: Croatian Scientists on Homelessness in Croatia

July 1, 2021 - Research of Croatian Scientists on homelessness in Croatia was presented in June at the 15th edition of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) conference.

Cooperation and comparative scientific studies between the Swiss and Croatians were already evident this year at the European Conference For Social Work Research (ECSWR).

As Total Croatia News previously reported, Dr. Lynette Šikić Mićanović participated in ECSWR representing Croatian scientific authors Suzana Sakić and Paula Greiner, with whom as a team, participated in a joint research project called "Exploring Homelessness and Pathways to Social Inclusion: A Comparative Study of Contexts and Challenges in Swiss and Croatian Cities (No. IZHRZO_180631/1), co-lead by the Swiss science team.

Back in June, as Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute informed, both Mićanović and Greiner participated in the 15th edition of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) conference titled “Breaking the rules? Power, Participation, and Transgression". The conference was held online at the University of Helsinki, Finland, from June 19- 26. Both Šikić Mićanović and Greiner attended a panel called 'Res08a: Breaking Spatial Rules - Micro-practices of resistance and refusal against dominant forms of territoriality I', to present their work „Homelessness and social exclusion: the negotiation of public spaces“.

„Their paper explores how homeless people who live in or use public urban spaces (in the absence of their own private spaces) break its rules and convert it into their (private) spheres for different activities related to work, leisure, and/or personal needs such as sleep/rest and hygiene“, explained the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

Just like for the ECSWR, the Institute added that their work presented on SIEF is part of a project “Exploring Homelessness and Pathways to Social Inclusion: A Comparative Study of Contexts and Challenges in Swiss and Croatian Cities” (No. IZHRZO_180631/1). Once again, it was financed within the Croatian-Swiss Research Program of the Croatian Science Foundation and the Swiss National Science Foundation with funds obtained from the Swiss-Croatian Cooperation Program.

As SIEF explains on its official website, SIEF is a „pluridisciplinary organization centered in the twin fields of ethnology and folklore (E&F) in their various denominations, within the larger family of anthropological and cultural-historical disciplines.“

„SIEF is eclectic and open-minded, promiscuous in its disciplinary relations while keeping faith with its founding values and vision. Global in its origins, today SIEF operates within an institutional context that is concentrated in but not limited to Europe," explains their website.

They add how their principal mission is to gather scholars to provide platforms for critical debate, networking, and exchange, as well as for building infrastructures for intellectual cooperation, publishing and promoting scientific work related to ethnology, folklore, and neighboring disciplines.

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Wednesday, 19 May 2021

European Conference for Social Work Research: Croatian And Swiss Scientists Participate in Social Work Symposium

May 19, 2021 - Held in Bucharest, Romania, the European Conference For Social Work Research saw Croatian and Swiss scientists jointly participate in scientific issues of social work in Croatia and Switzerland.

Earlier in May, the University of Bucharest, located after the biggest city and capital of Romania, held an online edition of the European Conference For Social Work Research (ECSWR).
Swiss and Croatian teams jointly participated in the symposium „Opportunities and Obstacles in the Evaluation of Homelessness from a Lifeworld-oriented International Social Work Perspective“, which saw prof. Matthias Drilling and dr. Zsolt Temesvary represent their University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), and dr. Lynette Šikić Mićanović represent the Croatian Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute. The conference was organized by The European Social Work Research Association (ESWRA)

As stated by ESWRA's official website, the association was founded in 2014 with a goal to create social work research development, collaboration, and exchange across Europe. As the ECSWR conference saw overwhelming levels of engagement, the ESWRA association today counts 600 members from across more than 33 countries.

„ESWRA’s vision is to take forward the development, practice, and utilization of social work research to enhance knowledge about individual and social problems, and to promote just and equitable societies“, says ESWRA.

While Dr. Lynette Šikić Mićanović presented Croatia at the conference, she is also a member of the team that includes Suzana Sakić and Paula Greiner. Along with the aforementioned Swiss team, the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute informed that the Croatian team participated in a joint research project called "Exploring Homelessness and Pathways to Social Inclusion: A Comparative Study of Contexts and Challenges in Swiss and Croatian Cities (No. IZHRZO_180631/1).

„This work is financed within the Croatian-Swiss Research Program of the Croatian Science Foundation and the Swiss National Science Foundation with funds obtained from the Swiss-Croatian Cooperation Program”, says the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute on its website.

Looking at the „Homelessness and Social Exclusion in Croatia“ science paper whose author is Lynette Šikić-Mićanović from 2010, its abstract suggests that „homelessness is a relatively new phenomenon in most Croatian cities and has been largely ignored by policymakers and social scientists“. So, Šikić-Mičanović's paper aimed to research and contribute new data on a previously unresearched social group to answer the urgent need for a fuller understanding of the perceptions and experiences of homeless people in Croatia.

„Based on the research findings of this study, a number of recommendations can be made for the provision of comprehensive information, services, and assistance to lessen social exclusion among homeless persons as well as to facilitate their routes out of homelessness“, says the paper. Based on scientific research, there are overall five recommendations, as follows:
1.) Special attention – apart from accommodation – needs to be paid to the quality (or lack) of services that homeless people urgently require, such as medical, counseling, legal, supportive holistic assistance from professional qualified and sensitised staff, and so on.
2.) Continual and systematic evaluation is required at shelters and among the wider homeless population by teams of qualified persons, researchers, and/or non-governmental organisations for the assessment and articulation of their needs, abilities, aspirations, and problems.
3.) Programmes need to be developed at the local level to meet different contextual needs. These could include more accessible (less public) soup kitchens, perhaps with special menus (e.g., for diabetics); the introduction of public bathhouses, day centres, doctor’s/dentist’s surgery, or subsidised accommodation for homeless persons, depending on the context.
4.) Volunteers from all age groups should be found and trained with a view to increasing public awareness of homelessness and social exclusion and dispelling the myths and stereotypes about homeless people.
5.) Former shelter users should be monitored and assisted with accommodation and other support services (e.g., utility bills, furniture, therapy, financial aid, help with education) to prevent them from becoming homeless again.

These recommendations are directly quoted from the scientific paper for the sake of accuracy, and hopefully, for a better tomorrow, the policies of the state will follow the scientific findings and discoveries in social sciences.

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Friday, 16 March 2018

Less Than Half of Homeless People Have a Place in Shelters

ZAGREB, March 16, 2018 - Currently there are over 1,000 homeless people in Croatia and the existing shelters can accommodate only 420, while about 500 live rough, a conference on psychosocial support and the integration of homeless people said in Zagreb on Friday, citing data from the Croatian Network for the Homeless.

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