The work of recent years has been so exemplary that the President of the Republic himself praises it. The Algarve has «a record number» of Homeless Planning and Intervention Centers (NPISA) that mean that «eyes are on the region» – even those of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa who participated, this Friday, 29th September , in a meeting on this topic, in Faro.
The National Meeting of ENPISSA (National Strategy for the Integration of Homeless People) brought together several entities linked to this sector, in the Grand Auditorium of the Gambelas Campus of the University of Algarve.
The start of work, in the afternoon, was attended by the President of the Republic, who highlighted this “record number” of NPISAS that the Algarve has (Albufeira, Faro, Lagos, Loulé, Olhão, Portimão Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António).
«It was a gigantic effort, in so few years, to put a structure like this on its feet, here [in the Algarve] in a special way», he considered.
Support for homeless people has been one of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa's main goals – and a topic in which he has been very involved.
Despite regretting that it was not possible to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness until this year, as was his wish, the Head of State assured that this continues to be an issue to which he will give maximum attention.
«The housing problem came, inflation, which forced many people of different ages onto the streets… but, as far as it depends on us – and I know that the Government is very committed and these teams are fantastic – we will do everything to, by 2026 , greatly reduce the number», he told journalists.
For the Head of State, “reducing a lot” means that “whoever wants to leave must be able to do so”.
In the Algarve, in fact, this is already a reality. In addition to projects such as Housing First or shared apartments, there is also the Social Emergency Center, created by MAPS – Movement to Support AIDS Problems, in Patacão (Faro).
In statements to the Sul Informação, Fábio Simão, president of MAPS, highlighted all the answers that «the region did not have before».
«Our eyes are on the Algarve because of this: because we created a structure that goes from the roadside to integration. What we did was join forces,” he considered.
At the Social Emergency Center, in one year “more than 100 people have been supported”, for example.
«It has been an example of good practices and a very important response for the Algarve», reinforced Fábio Simão, who estimates that there are currently around «600/700» people experiencing homelessness in the region.
«The official numbers are 1400, but what they say is that, during one year, 1400 people passed through here. It doesn’t mean they’re here,” she explained.
What is certain is that, for Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, it is «intolerable that there is inattention, caused in periods of great euphoria or great crisis by selfishness, which leads to these people being wiped off the map».
«They will say: there are 10 thousand, out of 10 million, it is little. It was enough for it to be one,” she considered.
The Head of State also spoke of the need to use European funds to invest in this area.
«It's a race against the clock. We must use them to try to find a fair, dignified and humane solution to a phenomenon that, in the part that depends on us, must be prevented and then find a way to act in the areas of housing, health, employment», he concluded.
Photos: Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação