Prague has launched a project for young people on the autism spectrum who have been falling through the cracks in the care system. It is in response to the urgent needs of Prague families and at the same time due to a critical lack of suitable residential services for this group of Prague citizens.
The pilot project is called “Living with Intensive Care for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Demanding Behavior.” City Hall began work on the project in October in cooperation with the organization Nautis, which has many years’ experience in this area.
“I am very pleased that we managed to launch this project. It helps the most vulnerable families in Prague, who unfortunately have been falling through the current system of services and are therefore at risk of total collapse,” City Councilor Adam Zábranský (Pirates), responsible for housing and transparency, said on the City Hall website.
“Six young people will gradually be offered roommates in two suitable urban apartments. We provide them with intensive support to the maximum extent and according to the individual needs of individuals,” he added.
“The unfavorable social situation in these families — manifested mainly by the tiredness of carers and congested households — demonstrates a completely unsatisfactory housing for young adults with autistic spectrum disorders. The first two families have been in social distress for several years and none of Prague’s facilities has been able to offer a solution to their situation,” he said.
City Councilor Milena Johnová (Praha sobě), responsible for social policy and health care, said most of Prague’s residential services are inconveniently located. “In addition, almost none of them are ready to provide demanding and intensive care and accept people with autism and demanding behavior,” she said.
“The lack of suitable services puts families on track to remain as primary care providers. This creates unbearable pressure on families, which in most cases cannot provide sufficient support to meet the needs of their children.”
The pilot program shows progress in the City |Hall coalition’s commitment to address people and families with specific support needs. Councilor Johnová also promised to resolve the situation of the most vulnerable families later this spring.
“Existing systemic measures are insufficient and do not offer a solution to the acute situation of households,” she said. “Although new residential capacities for this group of care-intensive people may be built, for example, from Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs programs, and Prague has recently supported one such project, these new capacities will be ready no sooner than 2022 and their bed capacity will be limited. If the capital wants to tackle the unfavorable social situation of families earlier, it must propose innovative measures,” she said.
Part of the pilot project will include planning support focused on a specific person, continuous monitoring of secured care and housing, and regular evaluation by the new regional support coordinator.
The project has a gradual timetable. Roommates will move according to individual needs and possibilities, the first in the near future. A second household will then be built in spring 2020. The project will draw financial resources from the capacity of the municipal housing stock and resources for the development of social services obtained from the European Structural Funds, according to a City Hall press release.