Why is homelessness such a problem in Slovakia?
One of the most serious factors influencing homelessness is the criminal justice system, in particular those released from prison. But other key issues can be departure from a children's home when coming of age, domestic violence, expulsion from school, family problems, drug addiction, illness (including mental illness), long term unemployment, a low level of educational qualification, etc.
When we first set up Depaul Slovensko in 2006, there were few services operating to help homeless people to rest or keep warm in the winter and no space for basic hygiene facilities. Social services were not geared to help those sleeping rough. Outreach work on the streets was very limited, as were hostel bedspaces, and there were no programmes aimed at resettling people back into the community. Some progress has been made over the past few years, and Depaul Slovensko has been instrumental in drawing attention to the plight of these homeless people nationally through our work with the media.