The new building

The home & care project aims to support single mothers and their children by securing employment opportunities and tackling social exclusion as well as child poverty. In 2017 there were 1.5 million single parents with minor dependents in Germany. Based on information from the Landshut job center, 394 single parents in the City of Landshut received state transfer payments. Of these, 240 have one child and 111 two children (status September 2018). The group of single parents thereby represents 21% of all benefit recipients. At the same time, around 100 single mothers in nursing, healthcare and care professions could immediately find employment in Landshut, if child care was available in the necessary hours. Taking into account that working hours in care, health care and child care professions are very often outside the traditional opening hours for child care centers, the main challenge lies in providing tailor-made child care so that employment and training opportunities for single parents can be expanded. By approaching this challenge, an important first step shall be made in removing the specified groups of individuals and their children from the poverty trap.

Partnership

  1. City of Landshut
  2. Kinderstiftung "Zukunft für alle Kinder" - NGO
  3. Heilig-Geistspitalstiftung Landshut - NGO
  4. ZAK e.V. Landshut - NGO
  5. Klinikum Landshut - private company
  6. LAKUMED - private company
  7. University of Applied Sciences Landshut
  8. Fachakademie für Sozialpädagogik der Schulstiftung Seligenthal - Training center

1. Executive Summary

Following the completion of the pilot phase, the project is now in the implementation phase. There is no longer any special funding for development and testing. Instead, sustainable use must now be achieved from the state of the previous project. For the "home & care" project, it can be noted that five different projects can be linked to the project, all of which have reached an intermediate stage. The five projects are:
•    construction project - planning, building and operating a house in which various ideas that were previously structurally separate have been implemented together
•    training project - development and implementation of concepts to offer training to people who previously had few opportunities for vocational training
•    integration project - creating a common community of different people in the house itself and with the residents in the neighborhood
•    care project - setting up new childcare models to provide care for the children of single parents working in shifts
•    networking project - bringing together organizations in a network that have never worked together before but are involved with the same group of people
 

2. State of the Art

2.1    Introduction to the challenge addressed
At the end of the pilot phase, the project partners were faced with the question of whether the project was successful or not. To this end, the original project objectives in the application had to be compared with the results at the end of the project. It quickly became apparent that the assumptions concerning success from the start of the project were not sufficient to be able to identify and analyze the multiple derivations of the project results holistically. For this reason, all results were collected and evaluated together. The challenge in the project is now to put the results of the model to the stakeholders who are responsible for disseminating and applying the model's findings in the traditional structures.

2.2 Where does the project stand in December 2023?

“home & care” as:

What have been the results so far?

What questions and challenges arise for whom in order to keep the project going?

Construction project

- 20 new apartments have been created for 20 women and 24 children.

- Affordable living space has been created in a central location, surrounded by greenery and by the water (€400 excluding service charges for a 2-bedroom apartment with fitted kitchen).

- The building has a communicative and open design with a courtyard and arcades.

- The building follows the “door to-door” concept, which means that the apartments and childcare facilities are spatially connected.

The property management sees what is happening on site and can assess the problems. Tenant meetings are organized. The following questions must be asked together with the administration in the Office for Building Management, Housing Department and Office for Building Management. Tenant surveys can be used to anonymously document a picture of the situation.

- Is the “door to door” concept suitable for all personal circumstances?

- Where does it have its limits, for example in the event of disputes or with regard to noise control?

- How are the outdoor facilities used and shared between the residents and the daycare users?

- What is the tenancy law situation when moving out? Are there alternative apartments?

- Can/should there also be larger apartments, for example for residents with 3 or more children?

- Can an affordable rent be financed by the city in the long term?

Training project

Pedagogical side

- A one-year training course was tested at the Seligenthal training academy. Three women were trained as educators and two women as childcare workers.

- In addition, the ZAK association integrated 11 residents and 7 external day carers from the project in exam preparation courses:

Nursing side:

- One resident was trained as a nursing assistant

- Two residents are currently training to become nursing assistants

- A total of 4 out of 11 residents are in further training, 3 have completed three years of training

Together with local employers in the care and health sector, the city administration in the Office for Child Day Care needs solutions and approaches for the following topics:

- How can access to training opportunities continue to be offered?

- Will the qualification paths that have been created be used by the city to gain staff for itself? How can this be financed?

- Are all residents informed about the local opportunities for further training?

- Do employers accept the training qualifications?

- Have training courses in care been simplified? Is the staff well trained? Is quality suffering or is it all about quantity?

Integration Project

- One resident lived in a homeless shelter with her child. She is currently working and is largely independent of social benefits.

- One resident with a child was temporarily homeless, is now a qualified childcare worker and is able to earn a living.

- One resident with a child was threatened with homelessness and found a home in the ZAK e.V. Mother and Child House before the project started.

- One resident previously lived in a women's shelter with a child and hardly spoke any German. Now she speaks fluent German and is taking part in further training in childcare.

- Five Ukrainian refugees are now working in care or education and have greatly improved their language skills with German courses.

- Of the 22 residents, 14 have a migration background, six of whom spoke little or no German to begin with, three are in work or training and three have taken part in a language course.

- Of the 22 residents, seven mothers who were not previously employed have taken up a job in nursing or education or are training in these fields.

The following questions still need to be answered for the further implementation:

- Does the project's approach help the participants with their integration in the long term?

- Is the professional integration successful, leading to a full-time job?

- Can the residents manage permanently without further social benefits? 

- Does the concept work for the childminders, who have to look after their own children in addition to their childcare job and also gain qualifications at the same time?

- How can help for self-help be supported?

- Do the neighbors in the project help each other?

- How can the communal rooms be used by the community and neighbors in the evenings or at weekends?

Care Project

- The project involves large daycare centers, each with two caregivers.

- A maximum of 32 children are looked after full-time, which means that their mothers can go to work full-time. 

- As a rule, the children in the large daycare centers are looked after full-time from 8am to 4pm. Some resident children are also looked after in the morning. But then not until 4pm in the large day care centers. This should not give the impression that the children are cared for longer than usual. According to the law, external care for more than 50 hours is also not permitted. The point is that the mother can work full-time (max. 40 hours).

- Daycare is always fully booked and there are waiting lists.

The Office for Child Daycare is asking itself the following questions:

- How will the "door to door" concept of residents with their children and daycare providers work in the long term?

- Will the large day care centers prove their worth or should small kindergartens be set up so that the childminders have better working conditions and the quality is thus improved?

Networking Project

- Employers and the social services of ZAK e.V. have created a very good working relationship and are in close contact.

- The cooperation with the municipal employees in Housing and the Office for Building Management works well.

-  The job center and other service centers work together to support the residents.

- Organizations that otherwise have nothing to do with each other have come together to provide social support for single parents.

The administration should benefit from the positive experiences and the added value for employers and training centers, and network and exchange information on the following topics:

- How can the model networking with the job center and other organizations be used to achieve networking beyond the project?

- How can the experiences of "home and care" in networking work be explained to other municipalities?

- How can other employers be integrated into the network?

- How can the social housing concept be enhancede?

- How can networking with other single parents take place (e.g. via portals for people looking for accommodation or associations)?

- How can neighbors and other non-profit associations be brought into the home for help, community and health (sports, nutrition, counseling)?

3. UIA Implementation Challenges

3.1 General overview
The table below displays an overview of the UIA challenges and how they are translated for the home and care project, indicating by means of a traffic-light color code the level of according to this first journal released and the status of the project.

Challenge

Level

Comments

Leadership

yellow

Strongly related to the operational level in order to secure the course of the project, only limited opportunities to analyze the learning experiences from the project and therefore no transfer of the project results.

Public procurement

green

The completion of the "home & care" building marks the end of the public procurement process.

Cross-department working

yellow

The conceptual approach necessarily involves cooperation between different parts of the public administration and with companies and initiatives. The conceptual plans for networked cooperation between project coordination and the offices involved have so far only been partially successful.

Participative approach

yellow

The major positive changes of the past year have continued. The involvement of network partners is now much less conflictual and more goal-oriented. Concrete agreements are proving their worth. Involving the target groups continues to be a challenge.

Monitoring and evaluation

green

Now that the difficulties with the scientific support have been resolved, the project is continuing to make key progress. Integration into the network is now working.

Communication

yellow

Coordination has made it possible to establish comprehensive communication.  Internal network communication and public relations now take place regularly and comprehensively.

Upscaling

yellow

Coordination has made it possible to establish comprehensive communication.  Internal network communication and public relations now take place regularly and comprehensively.

3.2 Leadership
At the final project meeting, the project managers made it clear that the implementation of the project involved an enormous amount of management work, which had not been seen to this extent beforehand. The main focus was on the immediate implementation of the construction project and the coordination of the network of stakeholders involved. Due to the difficulties during the construction phase and the coming together of the stakeholders as a network, the management's resources were used to solve existing problems. This left no room for analyzing the project experiences, interpreting them from a management perspective and integrating them into the discourse of the administrative management and local politics. To ensure the progress of the project, the coordination office concentrated on the facilitation and documentation of the processes.

3.3 Public procurement
After this project component played an enormous role in the previous stages of the process, the completion of the building means that public procurement is now largely complete.

3.4 Cross-department working
In discussions with the project coordinators, it became clear that there is positive cooperation with parts of the administration. For example, the cooperation works very well in the area of the youth welfare office, for example with regard to the organization of childcare. In other areas, the coordination finds it much more difficult to establish effective cooperation as a staff unit outside of the regular structures.  The coordinators believe there is sometimes an administrative fear of making decisions and a diffusion of responsibility, which is exacerbated by the shortcomings in project management described above. For example, the clarification of the amount of rent and the drafting of tenancy agreements has created major challenges in terms of who is actually responsible and who assumes technical responsibility. Progress is emerging in the stronger assumption of responsibility by the city through the introduction of facility management.

3.5 Participative approach
The trend towards greater participatory involvement has continued since the last journal. The project partners have managed to see themselves as a network and the project coordinators have succeeded in bundling the various interests in the network. A major success is that employers and social organizations involved in the project were able to resolve conflicts in the project development in such a way that a common understanding could emerge and trust could be built. The way in which partners worked together in the project, who would otherwise never have become involved in such structured cooperation, is particularly positive.
Involving the residents in the organization of living together continues to be a challenge. The aim here is to develop a structure that enables participation from the perspective of the people who live and work there. Strategic participation of the people who are neighbors of the "home & care" building must also be established. With the existing facility management, there is now a level at which this participation is planned.

3.6 Monitoring and evaluation
After a lot of difficulties from the concept phase to the start-up phase, the scientific support was able to fully fulfill its tasks following a change in personnel at the Landshut University of Applied Sciences. An operational level was set up in which the agreed process steps can finally be implemented.  Cooperation has been established that is perceived as useful by the project partners and enables the development of an atmosphere of trust. The frequent personnel changes in the scientific support team, which had a detrimental effect, were brought to an end.

3.7 Communication
With the appointments in the communications office which is in the coordination team, a functioning communication system has been established. This is done with an internal newsletter from the coordinator to the project partners. And at the same time, tools such as small video clips were developed to provide information to the outside world and create access to target groups, for example. Due to the closure of the coordination office, it was no longer possible to provide communication from one single office quite some time before the end of the project. This also prevented the creation of communication structures that would have had a lasting effect beyond the end of the project.

3.8 Upscaling
The intensified and now established cooperation between the very different project partners has now actually led to forms of cooperation in which partners have come together who would never have found any common ground without such a project. For example, the coordination between the nursing service managers, who are responsible for the deployment of the nursing staff, and the social organizations, which simultaneously care for and support these nursing staff as single mothers, serves as an excellent match between the world of work and the lifeworld. This enabled the project to be implemented as planned. However, it was not possible to ensure that the network would continue to exist and that knowledge would be transferred to local politicians and other municipalities.
 

4. Conclusive perspectives

Following the successful opening of the "home & care" building in September 2022, people have actually moved into the facility and are using the care and support services. The web articles that have already been published show what has been successful and how "home & care" deals with the challenges in the building. During the last meeting of all project partners in July 2023, it became clear that there had indeed been productive cooperation between the stakeholders from very different fields. At the same time, however, it also became clear that no analysis had yet been carried out as to what can be learned from the experience, how the project can be secured in the long term and how other municipalities can learn from the project experience.

About this resource

Author
FISCHER Joerg, UIA-Expert
Project
Location
Landshut, Germany Small sized cities (50k > 250k)
About UIA
Urban Innovative Actions
Programme/Initiative
2014-2020

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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