The Shelter House Foundation primarily aims at giving a helping hand for those people who thanks to the fact that they have no any kind of accomodation to live are forced to spend their everydays in the streets, creating an isolated layer of the society. Furthermore, since its activity is also preventive, Shelter House Foundation also provides accomodation for families who due to their private problems (poverty, unemployment) are subjected to seperation otherwise.
Besides accomodation, Shelter House Foundation also aims at giving all the assistance that helps its customers to change their present social situation and solve their private problems that make them ended up as they are.
As a result of its activity, among the customers of Shelter House Foundation you can find homeless, poor and unemployed people either arriving alone or with their family.
If you are interested in social issues such as poverty, sensitive enough to social problems and you are ready to experinence them at first hand and you share the affinity to help people in need in practice I highgly recommend you Shelter House Foundation to spend your volunteer service. Apart from social issues such as poverty, you can also obtain first-hand experinence about drug-prevention, rehabilitation and even mobile surgeries. Beisdes tha fact that these experiences definitly develop your personality and help you to get to know yourself better, they also help you to orientate yourself as far as your future career is concerned.
Shelter House Foundation
Shelter House Foundation operates four institutions; as far as the official issues are concerned it is divided into two, one responsible for homeless service and the other for family-care.
Daytime Shelter - Daytime Shelter provides rooms for daytime (from 9.00 am to 5.00 p.m stay in for people in need. For practical reasons customers living in the streets of the same district as the Shelter House Foundation is situated. However, homeless people from other districts are also welcomed. Besides the rooms to stay, they can have a shower, wash and dry their clothes and either prepare or warm their food. Furthermore, they are offered to use telephone, internet and visit the social information office in order to serach for job and manage their private issues. Finally, social workers provide them with social- and mental care, organising different leisure activities through the Workshop Club and other free time activities such as trips, bycicle tours and visiting museums.
Overnight Shelter - Overnight Shelter is available for the customers from 6.00 pm to 8.00 am. The primer aim of the Shelter House Foundation was to provide a safe and peacful accomodation for its customers without eveyday conflicts and stealing. For this very reasons there are camera inserted in the corridors and the rooms are kept locked. Onother important difference between the accomodation offered by the Shelter House Foundation and the rest that the accomodation provided by the Shelter House Foundation is co-educated. This way couples living together in the streets do not have to seperate (note that although the accomodation is co-educated, the rooms are not), which make them feeling more secure and comfortable.
The only rule for the time of staying is the following: they cannot stay out for more than one night. If they do, their beds are given for someone else. As far as the rooms are concerned there are five to seven beds in a room, seperated from each other with paravans, and there are no bunk beds; this way they can expereince some privacy, which is a need for every person.
In the case of Overnight Shelter customers are recommended by Street Social Services. (the customers brough in by the Crisis Car are also welcomed for a night)
Customers of the Overnight Shelter are privided with the same "extras" as the customers of the Daytime Shelter such as internet and bathroom. Furthermore, they can leave their baggage since it is taken care by the staff.
Families` Temporary Homes - Families` Temporary Homes welcomes both families in need and pregnant single mothers from all over the country. The task of Families` Temporary Homes is twofold: to protect the families from being torn apart (causing often irreversible changes in the family members` lives) and providing the families with professional help to solve their problems (e.g. to find a job, to solve their accomodation problems, to continue their studies, etc). The main focus, of course, is put on children`s protection and the satisfaction of their age and developmental needs. It is also important to show the way how to change life-style and present right patterns of family for them. To realize these aims Families` Temporary Homes offers job-, life- and health-related consulting, moreover the staff also supply all the available information about social services that a given family is entitled to use.
This is the first time that the Shelter House Foundation is hosting volunteers. Despite this fact, they are fully prepared to welcome volunteers and they have done all of the neccessary steps to make them feel comfortable in both Budapest and the institution. Presently, the institution is hosting two volunteers for half a year but depending on the success of their current and next projects they would like to extend the project to two further volunteers in the near future. The next date of appliance is planned by 1st of June.
The institution itself is situated in the edge of the 11th district, and admittedly it is quite out-of-the-way with respect to the city center and the most frequented places of the capital. For this very reason, the Shelter House Foundation provides its volunteers with travel card, and alternatively they can also provide bycicle if it is required. (map)
Accomodation for volunteers is provided in the institution itself, on the second floor, where the family homes can also be found. The volunteers` place is seperated by a barred door, and only the volunteers have key for it. The accomodation involves a room with two beds, an own kitchen (preapring food is up to the volunteers supported by the institution with money) and a bath room used exclusively by the volunteers; all the three are renovated and modernized. The fact that volunteers share their room means that you have the possibility to get to know another culture besides the Hungarain one and that you can start your volunteer service with a friend by your side. Finally, thanks to the 24-hour reception volunteers can arrive or leave their place whenever they wish. (map)
As far as the staff is concerned its members are really kind and friendly; those I met were young - close to my age, which made me comfortable. They were really opened to me as well, although I was there unofficially. I was showed around by Nora Bagdi who besides one of the institute leaders, is the mentor of the present volunteers (available on phone 24 hours a day); she was also really helpful and kind.
Although this is their first hosting program they are caring: they helped their volunteers around arriving, providing the volunteers with an information package about the country. Furthermore after the first "showing around" they also organize a welcoming party for the volunteers to feel home and learn more about their colleagues and the city.
Shelter House Foundation also provides its volunteers with Hungarian language lessons to help them to accomodate themselves to their new living place and be more successful in their work.
The volunteers tasks involve helping the customers in their everyday life, e.g. helping them to make the washing-machine work. Note, the more you speak Hungarian the more work can you do, since you can make contact with the customers easier; keep in mind that the customers in Shelter House Foundation usually do not speak English - just consider where they come from - for this veryreason it is essential to learn the language as much as possible for you. Strictly speaking, Hungarian is one of the most difficult langauges but this work require you to do your best. Besides work around the "house", volunteers` tasks also mean taking care about children. Nora said that children are really opened to the volunteers; they really find it exciting to be with someone from abroad and they also show interest in learning langauges. Volunteers are also expected to take part activiley in arranging and taking part in leisure activities and programs organized for the customers and join the different workshops; finally volunteers can also help with food preparing and division in the streets.
Shelter House Foundation applied for EVS with the aim to provide volunteers with the chance to observe professional work from the background and learn more about both the suceesses and the concerns behind social work. To fulfil this aim members of the staff are always ready to consult with the volunteers in the case of any questions arising about the job and involve them into their discussions.
First hand volunteer experience