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Tonight, there's a new episode in our series exploring Vienna's imperial history (BBC Four, 9pm) and we've been celebrating this week with some extra stories from Austria. Yesterday, we asked why OPEC had chosen the city for its headquarters. Today, we're focusing on the Lighthouse.
Founded in the year 2000, the Lighthouse is unique in Austria in providing a home for HIV+ people, people with drug problems, and/or people with mental health problems.
It was the idea of Bernhard Durst, an activist who was inspired by similar projects in other European cities. He died in 1995, before his idea became reality, but the vision was carried through by Friederike Baca, Christian Michelides, Herbert Rauch and others. Now, the project has four locations across the city and offers home to sixty people.
The project has ten principles behind its work:
Seeing people as human beings
Stabilization of substance consumption
Ending reliance on sex work
Stopping criminal behaviour
Securing economic survival
Shaping a daily routine
Re-establishing family and social ties
Promoting a sense of being present in the world
In 2006, the Lighthouse was a finalist in the World Habitat Awards, which recognised not just the work done to help people, but that that work occurs in buildings designed to be environmetally sustainable.