Infirmiers de Rue

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Infirmiers de Rue

Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

With nearly three million homeless people living on the streets of European cities, street social workers struggle to find adequate answers to help the most excluded step up from their situation. Through a revolutionary process that bridges life on the streets with the traditional healthcare system, Emile is returning dignity and self-esteem to homeless people and facilitating their social and professional rehabilitation. Emilie has successfully created a network of “watchdogs” that act as an early warning system. Using hygiene as a stepping-stone, they are empowering the long-term homeless by helping them to take charge of their own bodies and lives. Emilie’s approach is gaining broad recognition across Europe and countries such as Finland and Switzerland are already looking to replicate her model.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Emilie has invented a dynamic, incremental process to empower the homeless to take care of their own hygiene and progressively reclaim responsibility over their lives. Aware that careless hygiene is a starting point and catalyst for the exclusion of already marginalized people, Emilie has designed an approach that reconnects homeless people with their bodies. By using this method in street work and targeting the long-term homeless, she is building a holistic pathway to self-awareness and physical, mental and environmental health. Infirmiers de Rue (IDR) follows hundreds of homeless people every year with promising results: the intensive follow-up process led to nearly 70 percent of the most excluded homeless people to proper hygiene and social reintegration. As an example of the potential of her method, Emily repeatedly succeeded in reintegrating over a three-month period a person that all other organizations failed to help over the past 15 years. In order to catalyze the impact of her approach and allow for more targeted, effective street work, Emilie is training, organizing and strengthening a network of watchdogs to support the homeless people’s empowerment process. Citizens, shop holders, security staff, park rangers and street social workers are all taught to use the same barometer to assess the degree of risk of a homeless person and as a result, are able together to track and monitor the progress of the most excluded people. Emilie is also creating an enabling environment to make the system of street workers more efficient, by reinforcing existing infrastructures and improving accessibility to them. She is shedding light on what knowledge already exists for street-workers to use (such as street maps and lists of places where it is possible to take a shower, drink water or use toilets). In doing so, she constructively engages local authorities in filling infrastructure gaps. For example, in Brussels she has convinced local authorities to increase the number of fountains and indicate the location of drinking water. Already Emilie’s approach is being adopted in three other cities in Belgium and is getting attention in other European countries.