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Civic association Vagus awarded for work with homeless

SLOVAK civic association Vagus, which helps homeless people in the Slovak capital, received the prestigious international award of the ERSTE Foundation for their social project Streetwork, which involves social work with the homeless, as well as for its new project, called Domec / House, which will create a day-care and integration centre for the homeless.

Two Bratislava-based streetwork organisations - Vagus and Odyseus, and civic association Návrat (from Banská Bystrica) received Honorary awards of the ERSTE foundaiton for social integration, for the year 2013. Statutory representative of Vagus Sergej Kára (C) and its chairman Peter Adam (R) receive the award. (Source: TASR)

SLOVAK civic association Vagus, which helps homeless people in the Slovak capital, received the prestigious international award of the ERSTE Foundation for their social project Streetwork, which involves social work with the homeless, as well as for its new project, called Domec / House, which will create a day-care and integration centre for the homeless.

The awards were presented in Vienna on June 27. Since its first call for applications in 2007, the biennial ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration has grown significantly and meets broad interests in the central and eastern European region, its website informs.

“We highly value that we got this award,” Vagus representative Sergej Kára told the TASR newswire. “We regret a bit the fact that, in spite of our achievements, we still have problems with cooperation from city boroughs of Bratislava, which refuse to acknowledge the necessity of field social work with the homeless. In this respect, we still lag behind other European cities and towns,” he concluded.

The field work in Bratislava helps annually around 1,000 people who lost their homes. The project’s social workers help the homeless directly in the streets and can often save their lives. They also provide help and services that the homeless have no way of getting elsewhere, like food, clothes, medical treatment, social consultancy and assistance in offices and transport in the event of danger.

The ERSTE award is the most important award bestowed on organisations working with marginalised people. Altogether, the jury awarded 35 projects out of a total of almost 2,000 entries from 14 countries, with recipients receiving more than €600,000. In addition to Vagus, another Bratislava-based homeless social work organisation, Odyseus, and the civic association Návrat from Banská Bystrica, were also awarded an Honorable Mention, TASR wrote.

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