Services in Ukraine
Depaulka street outreach
- The Depaulka minibus offers hot food and medical assistance to street children and young people aged 7-20. It operates five days a week and makes regular stops around the city. This was Depaul Ukraine's first project, developed as a safety net, and it continues to help us make initial contact with street children, building trust, and encouraging them to make use of other Depaul services.
Day centre facilities
- Facilities for children living on the street: these include showers, food, laundry, and a clothing bank. We have medical staff, a trained social worker, and trained teachers working at the day centre.
- Prevention project: receives referrals from local authority social services of children at risk of homelessnessess. This may be due to their parents being violent, alcoholic or taking drugs. Educational and creative programmes are run by trained teachers with the children.
Orphanages and state run hostels
Depaul Ukraine has expanded its services into state-run orphanages and hostels in the Kharkiv region.
- Support: We provide outreach to those children who have run away regularly from these institutions to a life on the street. We have a specialist team of staff who visit three orphanages and one assessment hostel every week, and many of the children we have made contact with through the emergency Depaulka minibus have been persuaded to return to the safer environment of the orphanage so long as we keep on visiting them.
- Kotchetok leaving-care programme: For 3 years from 2009 we ran our own special unit within an orphanage helping up to 18 young people at a time to gain lifeskills they needed to cope with everyday living. We encouraged them to complete education and training in order to access employment when they left the orphanage, instead of taking to a life on the street. Recent changes in government policy about care of orphans has meant that many have been either adopted or fostered and for this reason we are winding down this unit at Kotchetok, with the last group finishing in 2012.
Depaul Ukraine has also developed a further range of services in response to need, providing a specialist prisons team which visits children and young people who have been arrested, generally for petty crime, and who need support while they are in prison or awaiting trial. In Ukraine such places are austere and basic, and Depaul Ukraine's staff can take extra food and clean clothes, as well as access the services of a legal team - a very new innovation in a country where the homeless are not usually able to ask for such help.
Depaul Ukraine has opened its own hostel with up to 15 bedspaces for homeless young people. This development is in partnership with a religious order, the Orione Sisters.
Provision for older homeless in Kharkiv and Odessa
An emergency day time project working with older homeless, aged 20 and upwards, providing meals and medical aid in partnership with a religious order, the Orione Sisters was opened in 2010 at Gogola Street by the Cathedral in Kharkiv. We are able to offer toilets and showers in a small temporary unit at this site.
In 2011 we extended this service for older homeless to Odessa, in southern Ukraine, where meals and medical aid are available during the day from a mobile bus. We often see well over 100 homeless people each day at the bus.
In the longer term, our plan is to locate day centre buildings in both cities so that better shower and toilet facilities are available in both, and as well as providing food and medical aid there will be advice and counselling services available.