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National partner profile: Slovenia

Participants

Homeless men and women, migrants, refugees, vulnerable youth, people suffering from substance abuse or in rehabilitation programmes, women in maternity houses, and the Roma community

Locations

Celje and across Slovenia through a network of partners

JZ Socio

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Javni Zavod Socio work with homeless people, migrants, refugees, people suffering from substance abuse or who are in rehabilitation centres, and youth without incomes, jobs, or roofs over their head. In 2012, JZ Socio established a street football league and began developing public awareness campaigns about inclusion for marginalised groups through sports activities.

JZ Socio was established by the Municipality of Celje in 2002 with the aim of helping vulnerable individuals and families, and to provide other social services. In Celje, their participants are offered weekly football training sessions accompanied by consultancy sessions and advice. The aim of the consultancy sessions is to help vulnerable people set achievable goals, and to develop a plan for attaining them. JZ Socio help participants prepare an individual plan with short-term and long-term goals, and encourage them to take the first step.

Team Slovenia has been supported by their national ambassadors, all of them former players of the Slovenian national team: Sašo Udović, Željko Milinović, and Sašo Udović.

The organisation further provides opportunities for socialisation and reintegration, and takes participants to different sports activities, festivals, and tournaments, organised by other NGOs that work with socially excluded groups.

JZ Socio also manage the team selection for the Slovenian Homeless World Cup team. Through a Slovenia-wide network of homeless shelters, centres for social work, and other projects that support socially marginalised people, they invite interested players to attend selection tournaments. At the tournaments they choose a group of ten finalists, eight of whom then represent Slovenia at the Homeless World Cup.

They are an umbrella organisation for the following institutions and projects: Maternity Home Celje, Homeless Shelter in Celje, Regional Centre of Inter-Generational Cooperation, Call Centre Socio, Field Work with Drug Addicts, and Project Celje Health City.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Javni Zavod Socio work to change the general attitude towards homeless people and other socially excluded groups, and to eradicate discrimination. They aim to educate and spread understanding about poverty, homelessness, and social exclusion, and to encourage the general public to take proactive measures for inclusion.

We shall prevent socially excluded people from becoming invisible. We shall not allow discrimination against those who suffer as the result of unequal opportunities.

Goals for the future

Tournaments

To organise a national tournament

Training Sessions

To have three national training camps a year

Social Inclusion

To promote a community of tolerance and openness in which even the most vulnerable groups have equal opportunities

Additional information

Partner since

2012

Football Activities

Weekly football sessions and participation in international tournaments

Team selection

Ten players are selected from among the participants in tournaments across the country according to their commitment and active participation.

Non-football services

JZ Socio  operate homeless centres, food banks, safe houses, women’s and maternity houses, offer consultancy, and run health promotion programmes.

Participants challenges

Poverty, refugee status, and discrimination

Organisation challenges

A lack of pitches suitable for street football

Country challenges

Homelessness emerged as a problem only after the independence in 1991 as a part of the transition from socialism to capitalism. There is still no national homelessness strategy (FEANTSA, 2009). Since the economic crisis and due to ongoing austerity measures, homelessness has been on rise, especially among immigrants and youth. Another growing phenomenon is family homelessness, particularly in bigger cities (Svet 24, 2015).

Homlessness definition

A 2010 study on homelessness by the Ministry of Labour, Family, and Social Affairs defined homelessness as an extreme form of poverty and social exclusion, and used ETHOS categories of rooflessness, houselessness, insecure housing, and inadequate housing. Slovenian NGO Kralji ulice further define homeless people as persons who are not able to acquire appropriate personal housing through their own means and are not able to maintain their personal accommodation without external help.

Homelessness Statistics

The Ministry of Labour, Family, and Social Affairs estimated in their 2010 study that the number of homeless people ranged between 1,000 and 1,500, with 600 of them living in the capital, Ljubljana (Siol.net, 2012). However, at the end of 2014, the official estimates said there were more than 4,000 homeless people, excluding hidden homelessness (Svet 24, 2015).

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