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13 March 2015

The Salvation Army (Armáda spásy) and social housing

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How to break the circle of poverty?


Social flats of the Salvation Army are a follow-up service for families or individuals who have come through the 'homeless hostel' social service and are unable – primarily for financial reasons – to find affordable housing.

"Usually, the family or individual enters into a sub-tenancy contract with the Salvation Army, who guarantees to the owner of the flat (municipality, private landlord) that the rent and all related fees will be paid. The client stays in the flat for 3-5 years and the intensity of social support provided by the Salvation Army gradually decreases, depending on the client's abilities and needs (initially, a contact with the SA social worker takes place every week, towards the end it can be once every two months)," says Jan František Krupa, Director of Social Services at the Salvation Army, explaining the principles of social flats.

A social flat does not need to be a transitional stop...

The purpose of the Salvation Army social flats it to teach a person who had lost their home to live independently once again, following normal rules for using an apartment. Social housing does not actually need to be temporary. "The client has the option – if they are ready – to become an independent tenant of the flat in the future. In such a case, the Salvation Army steps out of the relationship between the client and the flat's owner, who then makes a contract directly with the client. The owner who gained a reliable tenant this way, then provides a different apartment to us as a replacement," adds Krupa.

The Salvation Army started the programme in 2005, adding the option of transferring the tenancy to the client in 2008. Similar services are also provided by other organisations in Ostrava, but none of them is as highly esteemed as the 'Prevention of Homelessness' project, which runs the social flats. The Salvation Army currently operates over 200 social flats in 9 cities.

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