A national workshop was organised in Budapest in the framework of HomeLab project, with the participation of a broad range of actors and partners from the two Hungarian pilots; and with numerous public policy officials from across the country. The event titled “Integrated housing and employment services in the Social Rental Enterprise model”, co-organised by Metropolitan Research Institute and Budapest Institute, attracted 58 participants from across the country.
Presenters, panel contributors and the audience represented three ministries (Ministry of Human Capacities, Ministry of National Economy, Ministry of the Interior); ten local municipalities and their social provision offices; other diverse public sector officials such as employment offices; research institutes; and a range of charities and NGOs. In the first session, MRI staff briefly introduced the project to the audience; followed by the presentation of the two HomeLab coordinators on behalf of the two Hungarian pilot implementing organisations. Both implementers concluded that close and smooth cooperation with municipalities is crucial for success in integrated provision: without ensuring stable and affordable housing, supporting organisations struggle to help stabilise the life and employment of vulnerable individuals.
The second panel addressed the multi-stakeholder networks and mechanisms the pilots developed to connect clients, employers, public sector economic development companies, human resource managers, support and benefit forms and so forth.
A key factor in successful employment integration is the openness of employers to disadvantaged workforce, or persons with changed working capacities. One employer talked about successful long term cooperation with the former homeless clients From Streets to Homes Association. Pro Veszprém, the local development association in cooperation with the Malta Charity Service also cited successful cooperation with various market-based employers. Nonetheless, they underlined that openness towards vulnerable clients is scarce. Good examples inspire more flexibility from new partners; but colleagues of Pro Veszprém emphasized the amount of networking and efforts this currently requires among Hungarian employers.