Caring Communities for people in need of support

The new form of housing should enable people with support needs to become more independent and self-determined. In 2016, Lebenshilfe Tirol closed down a residential building for people with support needs, and since then eight people with support needs have been living in apartments in a housing estate in Hall in Tirol, each in pairs. Although assistance is available 24 hours a day in the housing estate, it has a separate apartment as its base. The new form of housing should enable people with support needs to gain more independence and self-determination. The task was to evaluate the effects of this new form of housing: How does the new living concept of Lebenshilfe Tirol in the district Untere Lend affect residents, employees and the social space? In accordance with the question, the three perspectives (residents, staff and social space) were researched in a mixed-method approach using adapted qualitative and quantitative methods. In order to make the research process as inclusive as possible in cooperation with the residents, the research group was advised and supported by Simon Prucker, peer consultant at Lebenshilfe Tirol.

The central result is that this form of housing enables residents to have more self-determination and an increase in competencies. This new self-responsibility is assessed in part ambivalently. The inhabitants indicate also to have no contact with their neighbourhood. The desire for more contact is expressed. The inhabitants would like support among other things for active organization of their spare time.

For the employees in the accompanying support the requirements change as well, which are organizational and personally challenging. The development of a neighborhood into a caring community requires targeted interventions in the social space through social work.

In conclusion, it can be said that this innovative form of housing has the potential to promote the self-determination of the residents. However, this form of housing requires new approaches from residents and employees and is therefore not (yet) suitable for everyone - people with a need for support as well as employees. Caring communities do not develop automatically. The basis for successful implementation is an adequate infrastructure and clear responsibilities.

Fact Box
  • Study Program: Master Program Social Work, Social Policy & Management
  • Team: Adelheid Bachler, BA; Karin Guggenberger, BA; Julia Heuvelmann, BA; Sabine Kröll, BA; Magdalena Meindlhumer, BA; Lisa Moser, BA; Laura Schramm, BA; Svenja Schüür-mann, BA; Anna-Lena Wessel, BA; Angelika Wittek, BA, Simon Prucker
  • Project leader: Lorenz Kerer, MSc., Mag.a Eva Fleischer, DSA
  • Partner Organisation: Lebenshilfe Tirol
  • Year project was carried out: January 2018 bis June 2018


Caring Communities

If people with support needs live independently in their own apartments, what effects does this have on their self-determination, on the way the assistants work and on the district?

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