We pursue social transformation, which means understanding the underlying causes of exclusion and working to eradicate them, not just mitigating its effects. We want to tackle the problem at its roots rather than just using our resources to provide one-off solutions.
These are resources that, in different shapes and forms (emergency flats, night centres, 24-hour centres), try to cater for the most basic needs –mainly overnight stay, food and safety - for people who are in a greater situation of defencelessness and self neglect.
Although they cater for an urgent need, occasionally these centres open or are reinforced coinciding with the warmest or coldest times of the year to try to protect people from bad weather conditions when they are at their harshest.
As their priority is for people to be able to gain access to them, however serious their situation may be, their regulations are very basic and the requirement level for staying in them is very low. Hence their name. This enables people to gain access to the resources and the care network who otherwise, for very different reasons –serious mental health problems, major self-neglect, dependency on alcohol and toxic substances, a situation of administrative irregularity – would sleep rough in the streets of our cities.
At RAIS Fundación we regard these centres as a step along the path and never as end-of-the-road resources. The different professionals try begin a path for improvement with each person who gains access to them, whatever their current level of destructuring may be, that enables them to start getting out of the situation they are in and remove the obstacles that prevent them from gaining access to more stable resources.
They are an open space for social mobilisation that fosters participation between people with very different social backgrounds and circumstances in life. They are open during the day and provide different services for people in a situation of severe exclusion (depending on which type of centre it is: shower, laundry, Internet access, meals, etc.). But, above all, they are meeting places.
They are shaped as the conscious start by the excluded person to a pathway of recovery and personal strengthening. After gaining awareness of their situation, the person becomes motivated towards making a change, in the search for a new meaning to their life project. In this way they regain potentialities as well as regaining confidence in themselves.
Resources such as these address new social exclusion realities and needs, ones that traditional care networks are not capable of responding to. Our work is comprehensive and innovative and we aim to create spaces/accommodation that integrate people and make them safe.
At present we offer two resources that cater for people in a situation of or at risk of social exclusion with health problems: drug dependencies, mental health, periods of convalescence and palliative care.
Mobilising people is a cross-section tool in all the work of RAIS Fundación that identifies our intervention model. On the one hand, it fosters activation and encounter activities where people in exclusion can find the best in themselves again. This work has a great motivational component, based on the principle that everyone is capable of contributing something to other people. For that purpose, group spaces for encounter with other people are sought, somewhere to integrate in a normalised atmosphere. On the other hand, the mobilisation seeks to involve everyone in the fight against exclusion and in social transformation: general public, institutions, companies and other social agents.
Milhistorias, a social enterprise promoted by RAIS Fundación, is engaged in online marketing ecological products for home delivery. Eighty per cent of the people recruited by the company are in a situation of exclusion, and by means of an insertion contract they acquire the job skills and abilities necessary to gain access to the job market.
Another key aspect that is taken into account at Milhistorias is caring for and promoting the environment, with the sale of seasonal, certified ecological products, including measures in their distribution policy, such as creating order collection points in collaboration with neighbourhood shops, which makes it possible to optimise the transport and promote proximity commerce as well.
More info at: www.milhistorias.es
Homeless people find all kind of barriers to gaining access to social care resources, owing to the person’s own particular difficulties and compounded by high levels of social and personal deterioration when following the entry procedures to a resource. At other times, the barriers that hamper access may stem from the actual make-up of the care resources.
Street work at RAIS Fundación consists of overcoming those barriers and bringing people closer to the resources and vice-versa. It is a question of adapting the services to people’s needs and of taking our offices out into the street. In that way, links of mutual trust are created that enable us to accompany people who decide to do so on a process of enhancing their situation.
The social urgency or emergency services deal with crisis or social defencelessness situations that members of the general public may find themselves in unexpectedly and that call for immediate action. Their mission is to provide a rapid and efficient response, assessing the situation, giving the persons concerned guidance and arranging for the resources needed, to put an end to the situation of defencelessness or reduce its impact.
A family in which there are minors and that has a fire in its home, an old man found alone and disoriented, or a homeless person in a situation of risk; these are some of the social urgency situations dealt with by these services.
One of the main interests of RAIS Fundación in running these services is to provide people in a situation of vulnerability with the most appropriate care, to prevent or avoid further deterioration of social exclusion processes.
From the very beginning, RAIS Fundación has provided training to social intervention professionals all over Spain, always focusing on the spheres from which it carries out its activity, starting from work experience in day-to-day activities and grasping the basic theory. At the same time, it provides training for volunteers from other entities, all of it related with performing voluntary work in social exclusion contexts.
Training makes it possible to put our experience and knowledge at the disposal of the participants, and at the same time benefit from the contributions and reflections of the pupils, which creates spaces for mutual enrichment for professional or voluntary practice.
In 2013, opportunities for training, meeting and reflection were created with more than 70 voluntary workers and 460 professionals from different institutions and public and private bodies. The Foundation collaborated on training schemes in work centres with secondary schools and universities. In 2013, it helped train 30 pupils from different disciplines (social work, social integration, social education, occupational therapy, communication, human resources, administration and finance…), at nationwide level.