The National Centre for Social Solidarity (E.K.K.A.) is a State Organization based in Athens under the authority of the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity. It was established in terms of the article 6 Bill 3106/2003, with the name the National Centre for Emergency Social Aid (E.K.A.K.B.) and renamed as E.K.K.A. in terms of the article 20 Bill 3402/2005. The tasks of the Organization of E.K.K.A. are specified in the Presidential Decree 22/2006.
Under the Bill 3895/2010, E.K.K.A. undertook the objectives & responsibilities of the Social Protection & Solidarity Institute as well as those of the National Observatory-which were abolished- for people with disabilities.
2. THE OBJECTIVE OF E.K.K.A.
The objective of the E.K.K.A. is the coordination of the network that provides social support services, care and solidarity to individuals, families, groups and populations experiencing crisis situations or are in need of emergency social aid (par.2, article 6, Bill 3106/2003). In particular, the services provided include:
Counseling as well as information regarding welfare issues at a personal, group & community level
Emergency and short-term psychological support to individuals, families and groups experiencing crisis situations
Emergency intervention "on the spot" in situations of crisis due to social problems or physical phenomena and mass disasters for the provision of psychological and social support
Guarded temporary hospitality and care at Shelters for emergency social care to individuals being in need of emergency social aid, are vulnerable and are in great danger of being harmed
Connection as well as mediation to facilitate access to social welfare and solidarity services for individuals and groups being in need of emergency social aid
Coordination and implementation of social solidarity and volunteer programmes to treat the social needs for emergency situations and to prevent social hazards and the procedures of social exclusion
3. TARGET GROUP
The E.K.K.A. Units Network of services mainly addresses and aims at the following individuals and groups:
§ Citizens in need of information on social welfare issues as well as connection with the Network of Services of the National System for Social Solidarity
§ Children and adolescents that are abused, neglected or abandoned
§ Minors who have disappeared or abandoned their home
§ Minors and women victims of domestic violence
§ Minors and women victims of trafficking with the purpose of sexual or/and financial exploitation and victims of illegal acts
§ Handicapped individuals in need of emergency social aid, and in great danger of being
§ Elderly in need of emergency social aid, in great danger of being harmed and unable to protect themselves
§ Adults and families in a crisis situation and in danger of being harmed that need emergency psychological and social support
§ Victims of emergency situations, natural phenomena and mass disasters
E.K.K.A. NETWORK OF UNITS, SERVICES &PROGRAMMES
The Network of Units, Services and Programmes of E.K.K.A. includes:
Telephone Line for Emergency Social Aid197
Local Social Support Units (S.S.U.)
Crisis Management Service (emergency situations, natural & mass disasters)
Emergency Social Intervention Service (emergency intervention "on the spot")
Shelters for Emergency Guarded Hospitality & Care
Special Treatment & Counseling Programme (implementation of Penal Mediation, short-term psychotherapy, etc.)
Focused Programmes & Actions for the prevention of social hazards and the procedures of social exclusion and dealing with situations of emergency social aid (such as: i. the construction of a special webpage for the provision of counseling & information addressed to children and adolescents http://www.aboutyouth.gr/, ii. Actions for the social inclusion and equality of access to health services and social solidarity for the Immigrants, the Refugees, the Roma in Greece, etc.)
Programmes in the framework of Programme Agreements for the provision of social welfare to vulnerable groups which E.K.K.A. aims at. These Programmes are accomplished through the cooperation of E.K.K.A. with State Organizations, Local Authorities (such as: the Municipalities of Alimos, N. Ionia, Chania, etc.) as well as with Voluntary Organizations of the Social Solidarity Network (such as: ARSIS, the Greek Red Cross, the Greek Welfare Organization of Volos, ERMIS, DESO, Child's Smile, etc.).
Reference Centres for the recording (demand) and monitoring (development) of special social problems of the E.K.K.A. target group in cooperation with the admissions and welfare Services Network.
Participation in Special Cooperation & Coordination Networks on issues concerning social welfare and solidarity. This cooperation is realized with the appropriate Services and Organizations which are relevant or whose subject matter is common to that of E.K.K.A. ( such as: the Network of Cooperation for the Support of the Young, the Violence, Injury & Prevention Network (VIP) of the Ministry of Health & Social Solidarity).
Social Welfare Centres for Vocational Training in Athens, Salonica, Larisa and Xanthi.
Department for implementing European Welfare Programmes & Interventions for vulnerable social groups and individuals.
? "e-welfare for the citizen" :
a) An online platform connecting all welfare services and enabling them to interact real-time
b)A welfare portal at the citizens' service (on demand)
c)An online Register for the monitoring and assessment of welfare services.
? "amea.gov" : A system facilitating the access for persons with special needs to sites corresponding to their specific needs.
? Classification & Evaluation System for persons with special needs providing a Certification Card.
? Accreditation & Evaluation System for non-profit NGOs in the field of Social Welfare.
? Keeping National Register for Social Welfare Services (Fostering, Adoption and Persons with Special Needs).
? Centre for the Administration & Coordination of Child Protection Initiatives (Child Protection Register).
In particular, the E.K.K.A. Units provide the following services:
I) Telephone Line for Emergency Social Aid 197
The Telephone Line for Emergency Social Aid constitutes the main, guiding source (admissions) and coordination of the system that provides emergency social aid services. It is staffed with experienced, specially trained psychologists and social workers. Also,
It operates on a 24 hour basis, for seven days per week, throughout the year
It provides emergency counseling and psychological support
It provides first-hand information on social welfare issues
It activates and coordinates the emergency "on the spot" social intervention mechanisms.
It refers to the other E.K.K.A. Units and Services Network as well as contributing to the connection with other Services and Organizations of the Social Solidarity Network for those contacting E.K.K.A. and need further aid.
It keeps a recording system of the calls data and of the services provided
II) Social Support Centres ( S.S.C. )
The Social Support Centres operate in the prefectures of Attica and Thessaloniki and constitute the decentralized peripheral entrances to the E.K.K.A. Network of emergency social welfare Services and the National System for Social Solidarity. Moreover,
They are staffed with social workers and psychologists
They operate mainly in the morning on weekdays and in certain central areas they also operate in the afternoon
They make admissions for people in need of social aid and design special plans for social and psychological support.
They provide emergency counseling and short-term psychological support.
They provide information to citizens on social welfare issues
They refer the individuals in need of emergency social aid services to the Shelters forEmergency Guarded Hospitality & Care of the E.K.K.A. Network or to suitable Shelters for Short-Term Hospitality of the National System for Social Solidarity Network
They intervene "on the spot" wherever a need for emergency aid arises to look into the needs promptly and provide emergency social aid and welfare.
They mediate for individuals and groups in need for emergency social aid since they facilitate connection as well as access to social, health & social solidarity services
They develop activities for coordination, make good use of voluntary initiatives and offers and promote the development of actions of social solidarity for the support of vulnerable social groups
The Crisis Management Service intervenes in cases of natural disasters and accidents involving a great number of victims in order to provide social as well as psychological support to injured individuals or the victims' relatives. It is staffed with specialized personnel and owns a mobile unit, which acts as an administrative operational centre.
IV) Emergency Intervention Service
The Emergency Intervention Service includes three units:
1. The "On the Spot" Intervention Service, which intervenes wherever an incident is reported, staffed with specialized personnel and equipped with vans.
2. The Admissions Service - Shelters for Emergency short-term hospitality, which addresses those who are, directly or indirectly, interested in tackling their problems that have led them to a crisis situation and need social or psychological support. The Athens Admissions Service is situated at the E.K.K.A. Headquarters (Vas. Sofias 135, Ampelokipi) and operates 7 days per week from 07.30-21.00. A similar service is going to operate in Thessaloniki in due time, in the area of Pili Axiou, where a Social Support Centre operates.
•3. The Short-term Hospitality Shelter, where serious and emergency cases are accommodated. The temporary hospitality at this Shelter offers instant relief to the people served and the specialized personnel of E.K.K.A. has the opportunity to find the best solution for each individual case.
V) Shelters for Emergency Guarded Hospitality
The Short-Term Hospitality Shelters provide temporary hospitality (shelter and care) to vulnerable social groups such as adolescents, women victims of domestic violence-with or without children, women victims of violence in general, victims of Trafficking with the purpose of sexual exploitation and adults in general being in an emergency situation.
Apart from hospitality, counseling and psychological support is also provided to the people served, during their stay in the Shelters, by specialized personnel.
These Shelters are in close cooperation with the local S.S.C. as well as other state or private agencies operating in the same field (Non-governmental organizations, Non-Profitable Associations, Municipalities, etc.), in order to come up with an appropriate solution to the problems of the people served.
Four short-term Hospitality Shelters (three in Athens and one in Thessaloniki) are currently in operation for battered women, women with children and women victims of Trafficking with the purpose of sexual exploitation, as well as one more Shelter for adults.
E.K.K.A., responding to the needs for implementing the Bill 3500/2006 concerning the tackling of domestic violence and especially the article 11 concerning Penal Mediation, has been running a special Counseling/Treatment Programme since 2007,
a) in Athens, for couples that have expressed violent acts but still live together and for couples already divorced with children expressing conflicts and violence when cooperating as parents and
b) in Thessaloniki, for individuals exerting violence "Offenders".
The couples in Athens and the individuals in Thessaloniki are referred to the respective programmes by the district Attorneys of Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki.
NATIONAL CENTRE FOR SOCIAL SOLIDARITYNational Contact Point-The Implementation of the National Strategy for Roma PopulationSocial exclusion and poverty are fundamental policy priorities for all Member States of the European Union. The Roma are one of the most marginalized social groups in Europe suffering severe discrimination and facing social exclusion in respect of inadequate housing, high unemployment, low educational level and poor health. In this framework, each Member State of the E.U. was called on to develop a national strategy/national strategic plan for the social integration of the Roma people. In Greece, the strategic approach has followed the reasoning set out in the previous Integrated Action Plan for the Social Integration of Greek Gypsies (2001-2008), the main objective of which was the implementation of a housing policy for the Greek Roma, in conjunction with other measures to support and promote their social integration (training, education, promotion into employment, provision of health services and cultural and sporting amenities). The National Strategy for Social Integration of Roma 2012-2020, which is specified in regional strategies, aims to end the social exclusion of the Roma and to create the necessary conditions for their social integration, focusing on four priority axes: housing, employment, education and health.Taking into account the shortcomings of the preceding programming period (2001-2008), the National Strategy set the following objectives: ·the systematic and comprehensive inventory and description of the current situation ·a review of the rationality of the planning priorities, based on the results of the aforementioned inventory ·a redefinition of the priorities on the short-, medium- and long-term levels, based on the existing needs of the target group and the resources (human and financial) available ·the establishment of an administrative mechanism for the integrated management of the national strategyThe National Centre for Social Solidarity (E.K.K.A.) was designated as the National Contact Point (NCP) of the National Strategy for the Social Integration of Roma, according to the Inter Ministerial Decision (3.27695/οικ.3.1773/04-10-2013). E.K.K.A. has the responsibility of coordination and supervision of each organization involved, at regional/local administrative level to implement and monitor the National Strategy, which acquires a close collaboration with regional and local authorities. Despite this collaboration, E.K.K.A. is also going to have a close collaboration with National Centre for Social Research, the Greek Ombudsman and several NGOs involved in the field. Moreover, at the national level, there is a close collaboration with the Ministries involved, and soon, the NCP will carry out technical meetings with each Ministry in order to share information on progress made on their sectoral policy for the Roma strategy and further specify their strategy. Finally, E.K.K.A. should prepare a Report till 18 November 2013, on progress made on the follow-up in the implementation of the national Roma integration strategies regarding the four priority axes mentioned above.The current situation of the Roma population in Greece This particular social group is subject to multiple forms of social exclusion – in the areas of housing, employment, health and education.According to a study based on a questionnaire sent to local councils in 2008, designed to map the main sites where the Roma were living, the greatest concentrations of the settled Roma population are to be found in the major conurbations and in rural regions, where there are more opportunities for employment. The whole Roma population residing in distinct and identifiable locations, amounts to approximately 12,000 permanently settled families, or 50,000 individuals – in other words, there has been an increase of an 8%-10%, compared to the 1998 estimates which was approximately 43,000 individuals The major concentrations of the Roma (over 1,000 families) are found in four (4) regions (Eastern Macedonia-Thrace, Thessaly, Western Greece and Central Macedonia). Status of the four priority axes are described below: HOUSING:Housing is the Roma population’s main problem, with the majority living in makeshift accommodation. Housing conditions (with 50% of the population living in prefabricated homes, shacks, shantydwellings and, in general, accommodation of a makeshift nature, in overcrowded conditions and without the basic technical and social infrastructure) are a serious obstacle to providing the Roma a decent standard of living.EMPLOYMENT:For the majority of the Roma, the main source of income is dependent on occupation, which is usually of a seasonal nature, often not covered by the safeguards of the formal labour market or of the informal ‘black’ employment”. Many households depend on the seasonal labour of just one member, and on the welfare benefits they may be entitled to as large families or without means of leaving. In general, the Roma incomes are low, meaning that the majority of households live below the poverty threshold. EDUCATION:The majority of the Roma population (especially the older age groups) continues to be illiterate, and although school attendance is more common among the younger Roma compared to their older counterparts, their involvement in the educational process is still characterized as insufficient to strengthen and improve their vocational status and mobility. Most Roma children aged 12 and above leave school in order to find work to supplement the family income. HEALTH:The health problems of the Roma population are directly linked to their low socioeconomic profile, poor living and working conditions and low level of education. All these factors lead to morbidity and ill health, a lower life expectation and high rates of child mortality.