Homeless Support Volunteer Program in Portugal - Lisbon
Want to support people with addictions as a Homeless Support volunteer in Portugal? International Volunteer HQ’s Homeless Support project empowers volunteers to help people at a homeless center in Lisbon that aims to minimize social and individual risks caused by addiction. Volunteers gain experience working with people with addictions and help to provide them with food, accomodation, basic medical care, support and other necessities.
- Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
- Affordable fees from CA$599 for 1 week
- Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
- Help feed, clothe and shelter marginalized people
- Discover Lisbon's buzzing city streets
- Stay in a sustainable hostel near museums and attractions
Who is this program suited to?
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
Homeless people in Portugal face inequality and poverty every day. However, with caring and compassion, volunteers are able to help to reduce these inequalities and support people in need.
As a Homeless Support volunteer you will work in a homeless center with people from different backgrounds, providing food, accommodation and basic medical care. There is a specific focus on those facing the challenges of addiction, and especially those who have limited social or family support. The project aims to help reduce the social and individual risks caused by addiction and provide vulnerable people with a safe place to access the basic necessities of life.
Volunteer duties can vary but generally you’ll help with everyday tasks that include:
- Preparing, cooking and distributing meals
- Helping with sport and recreation activities
- Maintaining the center
- Sorting clothing donations
Why do Homeless Support volunteering in Lisbon with IVHQ?
When you volunteer with the homeless in Portugal you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Improving access to basic necessities for disadvantaged people
- Mitigating risk posed by drug addiction
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining community outreach experience
- Immersing yourself in Portugese culture
- Exploring Portugal’s capital city
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers other projects in Portugal which are open to younger volunteers, and also alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.
All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.
”I was honoured to have been welcomed in to the community and get to know some of the guests at my placement. I spent time chopping vegetables in the kitchen, serving lunch and running art workshops. Homelessness is a cause I feel very strongly about most people who suffer from homelessness struggle with addiction and mental health issues; both are illnesses ...which cannot be tackled alone. I was moved when hearing some of the guests’ stories and taken back by their ability to be so vulnerable and share such painful experiences with me. My experience in the beautiful city of Lisbon is one which I will never forget. I will definitely be back!” read more
Read reviews from Homeless Support volunteers in PortugalSee more reviews
The IVHQ Portugal Program is located in and around Lisbon - the capital and largest city in Portugal. It’s a veritable treasure trove of history, culture, breathtaking scenery, exciting nightlife, gorgeous beaches and great places to eat and drink.
Portugal and Lisbon have risen from poverty only this century, so while it is a fantastic and affordable destination to visit, local communities are still facing the lingering effects of previously being one of the poorest countries in Western Europe. Volunteers can have an impact on these communities by supporting local initiatives which aim to improve the lives of Lisbon’s residents and make sure they have access to all of life’s basic necessities.
Arrival and orientation
The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of every month, and volunteers need to arrive in Lisbon the day before their orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Lisbon Airport (LIS). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. Volunteers under the age of 18 are required to travel with written consent from both parents or guardians in order to enter Portugal. Volunteers under the age of 18 who require a pre-arranged visa will also need their visa application to be signed by a parent or guardian.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in either Lisbon. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in Portugal prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a prearranged location in Lisbon on the day before your program orientation.
Orientation is hosted by our Portugal team at the accommodation. It begins the morning of your chosen start date and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Portugal – an introduction to Portugal, culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities, an introduction to project and placement as well as a tour of the local area. The orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for Portuguese language lessons if you’re on a Lisbon based project, and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
Volunteer schedule example
You will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift at your placement and will work for approximately 3 to 6 hours per day. Please note that start times and daily workloads depend on the project that you are participating on.
|7:00 AM||Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation begins and is available until 9:00 AM|
|8:30 AM||Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project.|
|1:00 - 3:00 PM||Lunch is served at the accommodation or at your placement. After lunch, you will continue your volunteer work.|
|2:30 PM||Volunteers with afternoon or evening shifts travel to placement and begin work on their project.|
|7:00 - 9:00 PM||Dinner at the volunteer accommodation. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as you wish.|
Volunteers have the weekends free and Portugal and Lisbon are full of interesting things to do, see, visit, eat and learn.
Start by visiting the many historical sites, attractions, monuments and museums and maybe see the Torre dé Belem - a gorgeous old tower by the sea. Then try a delectable pastéis de nata while sipping espresso at one of the many café bars or simply exploring parts of Lisbon by wandering through the beautiful streets and alleys or taking a tram ride through the oldest parts of the city.
Volunteers can make travel arrangements further afield once in Lisbon, with the advice and guidance of our local staff.
Accommodation and WiFi
Volunteers on most projects are accommodated in a dormitory-style hostel located in Lisbon. The hostel can accommodate up to 44 guests at a time and you can expect to share a room with other volunteers of the same gender.
Bedding and towels are provided, and there are shared western bathrooms. Staff will clean the accommodation throughout the week, however volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy. Please note that there is a 10:00 PM curfew in place at the hostel for volunteers under the age of 18.
WiFi is available at the volunteer accommodation, as well as many cafes and restaurants in the area. To keep connected, the local team will provide you with a free local SIM card that you can activate to purchase mobile data for an unlocked mobile phone.
Private double rooms in the hostel, with the use of the communal bathrooms, can be arranged at an additional cost of US$170 (approximately CA$224), and payment can be made in cash directly to the local team upon arrival. All accommodation upgrades are subject to availability.
Volunteers travel to their placements from the volunteer accommodation via public transport or by foot.
Please note, the local team will require a deposit of US$11 (approximately CA$14) from each volunteer for your room key. This will be refunded to you on your final day when you return your key.
Portuguese food is delicious and during your time in Portugal, you will be sure to receive some incredible treats.
Most volunteers are provided with three meals a day. Breakfast is self-serve at the accommodation and generally includes tea, coffee, bread, cheese, ham, spreads, cereal, yoghurt and fruit. Lunch and dinner usually include local staples such as fish and chicken, as well as rice, pasta, vegetables, and salad. If your placement requires you to be away from the accommodation during lunch or dinner, these will be provided at your placement or you will take a packed meal.
Tap water is fine to drink in Portugal, however bottled water is readily available if you prefer and you should budget US$10 (approximately CA$13) a week for this.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|1 week||CA$601 Equivalent to CA$86/day|
|2 weeks||CA$919 Equivalent to CA$66/day|
|3 weeks||CA$1236 Equivalent to CA$59/day|
|4 weeks||CA$1553 Equivalent to CA$56/day|
|5 weeks||CA$1871 Equivalent to CA$54/day|
|6 weeks||CA$2188 Equivalent to CA$53/day|
|8 weeks||CA$2823 Equivalent to CA$51/day|
|10 weeks||CA$3524 Equivalent to CA$51/day|
|12 weeks||CA$4158 Equivalent to CA$50/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of CA$394 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in CAD.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers on Lisbon based projects generally find US$65 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses. Volunteers on the Wolf Conservation project generally find US$150 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses, including meals.
Portugese language lessons
Portuguese language lessons are available to all Lisbon-based volunteers, regardless of your Portuguese language ability. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these lessons to allow you to work and communicate more effectively during your program.
If you would like to sign up for the language lessons, simply let your Program Manager know and they will be happy to help you arrange them. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Portuguese and are taught by a professional Portuguese language teacher. Classes run Monday through Friday, the cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. They are paid for prior to your arrival and the local team will help you arrange a suitable time to complete your lessons during your program orientation.
|10 Hours:||US$360 (approximately CA$474)|
|20 Hours:||US$627 (approximately CA$826)|
|30 Hours:||US$866 (approximately CA$1141)|
|40 Hours:||US$1112 (approximately CA$1465)|
|50 Hours:||US$1248 (approximately CA$1644)|
Please note, Portuguese lessons are held at the Lisbon accommodation and are not available to volunteers on the Wolf Conservation project.
Check what's required to visit Portugal
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Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
Weather and climate: Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate with dry hot summers and mild winters. During winter, from December to February, temperatures are mild and vary from 8°C to 14°C (46°F to 57°F). Summer, from June to September, is dry and hot with temperatures ranging between 18°C and 29°C (64°F and 84°F). Rainfall is heaviest in December/January and driest in July/August.