The leaders of the Alternativa Project, Águeda Figueira and Sandra França, held a meeting with the President of the Legislative Assembly of Madeira, José Manuel Rodrigues, today to discuss their psychosocial support and work they have done with the homeless living on the streets of Funchal over the last ten months.
At the hearing, they asked José Manuel Rodrigues for help so that the street team can continue the work on Risk Reduction and Damage Minimisation (RRMD). “Right now,” said Águeda Figueira, “we cannot work, but we want to continue to support people who are homeless, people who consume psychoactive substances and sex workers on our city’s streets.”
With daily, night and day rounds, the team developed an innovative project based on risk reduction, distributing and exchanging consumables (syringes and condoms), providing psychoeducation on current issues and topics associated with health, as well as other current topics such as Covid-19.
Regarding the delivery of syringes, Águeda Figueira confirmed that this task aims to reduce health risks to those living on the streets, and to public health workers in the collection and disposal of used syringes.
Responding, the President of the Legislative Assembly of Madeira said that he understood the situation, and believes that contact, help and advice to the homeless should be strengthened and maintained.
“I hope that this Project, which has already done so much, can return to the street, so that people can be rehoused, recovered, and socially integrated” said José Manuel Rodrigues, who hopes to see the team work with public or private social solidarity institutions. “The initiatives of civil society, of people linked to the area of social inclusion are welcome, and deserve our support.”
Risk Reduction and Damage Minimisation (RRMD) is based on a set of measures created to prevent the appearance of damage caused by risky behaviour and aggression, as well as establishing a trusting relationships in order to help those in need access all available help, as well as maximise their individual potential.
The president of the Madeiran Parliament also reiterated the need of projects like this especially in these pandemic times where the “number of people living on the street, especially in Funchal, Santa Cruz and Câmara de Lobos has significantly increased.”
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