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National partner profile: Poland

Stowarzyszenie Reprezentacja Polski Bezdomnych

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The Polish national homeless team is organised by Stowarzyszenie Reprezentacja Polski Bezdomnych (Polish Homeless National Streetsoccer Team Association). They use sport to promote health, education, and social inclusion, and encourage personal development. Their target groups are men and women in homeless facilities, rehabilitation centres, AA meetings, and anyone who is in danger of social exclusion. The organisation runs local and national street soccer tournaments across Poland.

PHSTA was established in 2008 in Poznań. Their main activity is working with people suffering from substance abuse and those living in homeless centres. They work closely with other organizations, such as Monar, Aid Society, St. Albert, Barka Mutual Aid Association, and Caritas, who encourage the participants to engage in sports activities. Every year, the association organises a series of football tournaments as a run-up to the Polish Championship in Homeless Street Soccer. The most impressive players are appointed to the Polish national team.

PHSTA have been organising international football tournaments for homeless people since 2010. As an official partner of the Homeless World Cup, they organised the Homeless World Cup in Poznań in 2013.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Stowarzyszenie Reprezentacja Polski Bezdomnych use the power of football to motivate and help disadvantaged groups reintegrate into society. Street soccer represents a tool for social inclusion, healthy lifestyle, and education for homeless men and women, people suffering poverty, and those affected by substance abuse.

“For me, playing with the eagle on my chest is a fulfillment of my childhood dreams, as well as a kind of reward and honor.” Robert Celestyński, Team Poland 2012.

Goals for the future

Women's Programmes

To set up a women's football programme

Additional information

Partner since

2008

Football Activities

Two training sessions per week, local tournaments, Polish Championship in Homeless Street Soccer, and selection and preparation of the Polish Homeless World Cup team

Team selection

Eight most outstanding players are selected at the Polish Championship in Homeless Street Soccer

Non-football services

Rehabilitation programmes, representing the interests of homeless people to the governmental authorities and protecting their rights, cooperation with other institutions tackling homelessness

Participants challenges

Rooflessness, unemployment, poor housing situations, debt, substance abuse, mental health problems, and lack of education, etc.

Country challenges

UNHCR (2012) and the United Nations (2013) have voice concern over homelessness among refugees and asylum seekers – one third of them are believed to be homeless. About 10% of them live without a roof over their head. There are currently 30,151 people of concern (refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons) residing in Poland, but their number is likely to increase, mainly due to the ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq (UNHCR, 2015).

Homlessness definition

The Social Welfare Act (article 6, section 8) legally defines as homeless any “person not residing in a dwelling and not registered for permanent residence, as well as a person, either registered or not registered for permanent residence, in a dwelling in which there is no possibility of residence.”

Homelessness Statistics

In 2011, 9,600 people were sleeping rough in Poland on a given night and almost 80,000 received some form of shelter or financial assistance (FEANTSA, 2012). However, researchers estimate that there are between 30,000 to 200,000 homeless people in Poland (Social Watch, 2010).

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