Habita 65 Association for the right to housing and the city
We propose that isolated single moms can grow and learn as a community. It’s our main goal to create a space of mutual aid where they can meet, learn about their rights and participate in their communities. We aim to foster an engaged community capable of building new proposals for better public policies that actually can solve their housing problems and stop social marginalization.
One main challenge in the Metropolitain Lisbon Area (LMA) is the access to housing and single mothers are especially affected by it.
LMA has a large population of single parents, 18% of the families, with 85% of them being single mothers. This means that in the LMA there are roughly 100.000 single mothers, many of them reach surviving on a single income and struggling to make ends meet.
Isolated and misinformed about their rights they can feel powerless and despair but we also know that when they are called to action to defend their homes against evictions they can become fearless. Our biggest challenge is to build together ways of organization and mutual support so they can develop new skills and coping strategies, becoming active citizens in their community and in social movements
The main target group for this project is single mothers in risk of eviction or living in poor housing conditions, which have already expressed the desire to be active citizens. This is the case of over 100 women who have contacted Habita in recent times wanting to participate in the fight for the right to adequate housing. We will start by inviting all the single mothers that contacted us before and will hopefully have a group of 50 to work along the project and possibly 15-20 will acquire skills and capabilities to act has local leaders in a territorialized work in the future.
We also want to target the political body of the municipality and parishes in charge of housing and social security technicians.
Between this two target groups we aim to build a mutual trusting relationship.
Our main goals are 1) to set up and cultivate a network of solidarity between single mothers and other women in the community; 2) to learn about our rights and how we can reclaim it: and 3) to dialogue with the political institutions and social welfare system. We will work based in “Women for the Right to Housing” a network we already participate in.
First phase (3-4 months): invite single mothers with whom we already engaged in actions to participate in community events like shared meals, film projection and debates to share our vision, collect ideas and propose further activities. We plan to lead about 4 of these events in neighbourhoods where we already have acquaintances.
Second phase (6 months): monthly participatory discussion/reflection workshops about Justice and human rights, Housing and Health, Women’s role in society and other themes suggested by the group. To these workshops will be invited members of the political body (municipal and parish) and public social workers.
Practical workshops on digital competences, communication skills, direct action organization will be available for those willing to assume organizing responsibilities.
Third phase (2 months): structured sessions to collectively propose policies that influence political decision to respond to single mothers needs.
* In all the activities planned we’ll try to have a space for children activities.
At the end of the project we expect to have built a community of single mothers that can support each other and feel empowered to advocate for their rights and for a better society.
At the political level we expect that our claims and demands be transformed into public policies that give better support to all single parents. Ideally the group creates its own autonomy and is on going after the end of the project.
Possible outcomes of the project can be:
- an online network/whatsapp where single mothers can find and give mutual support and answers to their difficulties
- a claim booklet
- a survival toolkit for single mothers facing eviction
- the application to a municipal program to maintain the network or even to set up a civic centre for women
If we have more knowledge, if we recognize the other as being part of the same community, if we accept our ideas as valid to be heard by others, we create power. We expect that through the workshops, events and debates there is knowledge produced and that the practice of engaging within the group and to the outside will give confidence for these mothers to continue to actively engage not only with public authorities, institutions and the media, but also with their families, partners, employers, landlords. Also, the activities we are planning can actually change according to the decision-making of the participants: their ideas and discussions will guide the activities though they are conditioned by the principles and goals we have mentioned before.
Habita is made of a core of dedicated activists but all who participate in assemblies and engage in actions and campaigns can become an active member, and some people do so, especially women.
The core activist group has been working together for the past 3-4 years mainly in low-income contexts that face the risk of eviction or go through it. Leading many resistance actions, and protests but also mediating people in risk of eviction and political power, we have reached quite a credibility, both in neighbourhoods and political body.
Rita, Carlotta and Antonio are PhD students; Sara has a degree in Psychology and a long experience in the feminist movement; Maria João is a nurse with a background in architecture; Sofia is a nanny with experience in International Relations & Political Science
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Human resources (staff, local leaders): 24 000 EUR
Workshops (trainers, catering, materials): 2 000 EUR
Community events (Food, live music, dancing): 4 000 EUR
Communication, campaign: 2 000 EUR
Indirect costs (office, print, overheads): 1 000 EUR
Travel Costs: 2 000EUR
Do you have experience in social inclusion with single mothers?If so, we would love to hear your ideas. Tell us how we can improve this project and support us so we can facilitate the empowerment of single mothers in the right to an adequate house and dignified life.