It is estimated 15,000 persons with disabilities live in Subotica, i.e. 10% of the city population. Civil society organizations which provide support for persons with disabilities in Subotica have developed some programs of support, workshops or day centers, but there are not developed services of support independent living with support. Members of family of persons with disabilities usually are the only caretakers, and when they are not able to do so (because of the old age or illness), persons with disabilities are most commonly situated within the institutions. In the institutions of social care in Subotica, there are 17 children and 346 adults with disabilities.
Having in mind the importance of deinstitutionalization and development of mechanisms of support for independent living with support, Association for support for persons with psychophysical disabilities "Together” started advocacy initiative in order to influence on the City of Subotica to provide a housing unit, that would be providing service of living with support for persons with disabilities. Besides lobbying efforts, they also worked on building capacities of potential beneficiaries of this service. They organized 4 weekend stays at Salas, as a program of preparation for independent living with support for beneficiaries. After these weekends one of the parents said: “Thank you for pointing out that I have actually spoiled my child, so now he knows less than he is actually able for. You have instigated me to work on my child's independence, so he could be prepared for life even when I'm gone.” They also were successful in building support within community.
They participated in the official program of celebrating the Day of City of Subotica, and organized inclusive theater performance and creative workshop, at Freedom Square in Subotica.
They also organized a seminar for persons with disabilities, their parents, and representatives of CSOs which provide support to persons with disabilities. These events attracted attention of citizens and sent message on equal opportunities and necessity for active life within community of persons with disabilities.
As a result of their initiative, they have reached the agreement with the City Council of Subotica City, to provide a housing of 80 sqm unit in Subotica for service of living with support for persons with disabilities.
Initiative is supported by Trag Foundation, within its program Social Care Reform Initiative, which is implemented with financial assistance from American Agency for International Development.