Person centred assistance and accommodation in communal housing
- School for Elementary and Secondary Education - Milan Petrovic
- Country of Implementation
- Central and Eastern Europe
- Start Year
- First published
“Life in the institution is terrible. I would never return there. This is my home” A project beneficiary
Traditionally, there have been few alternatives to institutions in Serbia. Persons with intellectual disabilities may have little choice in their accommodation and care, leading to isolation and segregation from society.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Supported Living in the Community places people with intellectual disabilities in shared apartments and provides them with individualized support. The programme uses rented apartments, apartments provided by the city of Novi Sad, or those owned by users or their families, and it allows people to choose with whom they want to live. Users of the service fully participate in the creation of their own individual support plans by informing of their personal preferences and wishes, and at a later stage giving evaluation. Services in the plan include health, formal education, vocational training, and assistance with finding employment, with the overall aim of improving their abilities and skills in daily activities. Following a pilot between 2005 and 2008, which supported a three-member family with disabilities to live together, the programme has since grown to a permanent project with 39 adults housed in 12 apartments across the city. Nine of the 39 had previously resided in institutions and now live with choice and freedom in the community.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The project is funded by the city of Novi Sad, although users also contribute, making up around 10 per cent of the overall project funding. Past support has also been provided by the Open Society Foundation, which supported the first eight people in moving from institutions. Milan Petrovic plans to establish two new households in 2018, accommodating an additional six users. Further, the organization has been taking part in public campaigns and news conferences; and it has been welcoming study visits in order to share its model in the hope that other organizations will replicate it, particularly in areas that have a similar history of institutionalization.
THE STORY OF JOVAN SLAVNIĆ, A SUPPORTED “LIVING IN THE COMMUNITY” BENEFICIARY
“I am free and happy here. I would never return to an institution!”
My name is Jovan Slavnić. I am 35 years old and I have lived in a small home community in Novi Sad, Serbia, since 2009. Before I came to Novi Sad I lived in a few institutions, where I ran away several times because everything there was terrible. For example, I was not allowed to spend time with people outside the institution. Every day was the same. I had nothing to do and nothing of my own. When I met Dragica, I fell in love and stopped running away. Instead, I dreamed that I would somehow get out of the institution, go to school, find a job, and marry Dragica. Thanks to the community living programme supported by Milan Petrovic, we are now living together in an apartment with two friends. As soon as I left the institution, I started going to school. In June 2018, I became a baker and got a job in a bakery. I go to work by bus. I love to spend my free time playing with my dog and having fun with my friends. I also enjoy watching football matches at a nearby coffee shop, because I can cheer loudly. When I receive my salary, I take out Dragica and my friends to eat cakes.