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Homeless Support Volunteer Program in Portugal - Lisbon

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 Monday
  • Affordable fees from CA$1000 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 only a short walk from the beach

Key information

Support marginalized communities
Based in homeless centers
Dormitory-style hostel
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Fully hosted experience from CA$1000 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 12 weeks
Portugese lessons available in-country
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Caring and compassionate volunteers who want to help vulnerable people battling addiction and related issues.
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
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #1: No Poverty

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #1: No Poverty

More than 10% of the world’s population live in extreme poverty, struggling to fulfil the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation, to name a few. Growth must be inclusive to achieve sustainable development and an economy that benefits all.

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

Volunteer requirements

Volunteers need to be 16 years or over to participate in this program, unless accompanied by an adult. All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.

Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply For Free

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Ellora Rao
24 Aug 2023

From this experience, I have felt as if I made a great, positive impact on others and served the community. Not only this, but I have grown as a person and learnt skills that I didn’t think I would obtain. If you are hesitant to join this, it was the best week of my life! I made so many new friends and had such an amazing experience.

Niamh Boy
22 Aug 2023

I believe I left the program a much more rounded person. Not only does this experience allow you to grow individually, but my specific program working with the homeless meant I now understand the cruciality of caring for others - providing an outlet of unconditional support. This was a truly unforgettable experience.

Daniel Paulsen
20 Jul 2023

Overall, I believe that my volunteering enabled me to grow as a person, gain independence, helped me forge relationships and gave me a sense of purpose. I would strongly recommend one to heavily consider volunteering and would advise them to bring a friend if they are hesitant.

Rosa Herz
05 Apr 2023

I would say that it was a great experience and you could never go wrong with helping out and supporting those in need. The trip really motivated me to continue volunteering and maybe to try and volunteer on other continents as well. My favourite moment was when I first met the people in the shelter and a woman there told me her story and about the political situation in Portugal.

Gillian Davies
24 Mar 2023

My Program Manager was really good and quick to answer any questions and uploaded my flights for me. Very helpful along the whole booking process. The local team was brilliant - she was always at the end of the phone and helped me get my train back when I was stuck! She helped me with anything I needed. This program made me realise how other cultures live their lives day by day which opened my eyes. Seeing how other areas and countries cope with the homeless and how the social system works was so different to the UK. Opened my eyes to how poor some people are and how they are content in the volunteer centre with all the activities. I was apprehensive to go and not sure what to expect but it was all safe and very enjoyable and the people who run that place are very special people.

María Fernanda Martínez Vargas
28 Nov 2022

I was in the homeless support program, so I prepared the food and distributed it and every time I had contact with the homeless I felt really appreciated. It made me realized the privilege I have and how I can take advantage of it and do something with it, I really want to implement this program in my country. The local team made me feel safe, happy and conscious about the reality we faced in different parts of the world and how I can help and do a difference from the country I am from, or in other countries. They taught me that the help you give doesn’t matter if it’s big or small. If you make a difference, they won’t be disappointed at all. It’s a big step to take but they will be completely grateful with the decision they will make, it’s a completely life changing experience.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

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Volunteer Abroad in Portugal with IVHQ


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 every Monday, 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, however, if you arrive outside of Sunday between 9:00AM - 10:00PM, your pick-up will incur an extra cost of US$65. 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.

8:00 - 10:00 AM Breakfast is available at the volunteer accommodation
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.

Explore the old city of Lisbon and get yourself lost in the small alleys that are seeped with music and delicious food. Be sure to try the local pastry - pastel de nata and listen to traditional folklore music - fado. Lisbon is a vibrant city with many cultural and music events, you can’t possibly be bored here. If it’s nature you’re looking for - it has that too! Sintra Natural Park is only a short drive away and boasts wonderful castles and palaces. Come for a day trip to Arrabida beach and try the well-known local wines.

Volunteers can make travel arrangements further afield once in Lisbon, with the advice and guidance of our local staff.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers on Lisbon based projects will be accommodated in a dormitory-style hostel with other volunteers in Estoril which is a 5 minute walk from the beach. You can expect to share a room with between 3 - 13 other volunteers of the same gender however, male volunteers may share mixed-gender rooms with other guests if the male dormitory room reaches capacity.

Bedding and towels are provided, and there are shared western bathrooms however, they are not separated by gender. 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, are available at an additional cost of US$384 (approximately CA$545). These can be purchased as an add-on via your MyIVHQ account once you have registered for the Portugal program. All accommodation upgrades are subject to availability.

Volunteers travel to their placements from the volunteer accommodation via public transport or by foot.


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$14) a week for this.


  • USD
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week CA$1000 Equivalent to CA$143/day
2 weeks CA$1511 Equivalent to CA$108/day
3 weeks CA$2022 Equivalent to CA$96/day
4 weeks CA$2534 Equivalent to CA$91/day
5 weeks CA$3059 Equivalent to CA$87/day
6 weeks CA$3584 Equivalent to CA$85/day
8 weeks CA$4635 Equivalent to CA$83/day
10 weeks CA$5685 Equivalent to CA$81/day
12 weeks CA$6736 Equivalent to CA$80/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 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
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$467) 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 and on the Wildlife Conservation project generally find US$65 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses. For those on the Wolf Conservation project, we recommend a weekly budget of US$150.
  • Any changes or cancellations within 14 days of your start date are subject to a US$200 late change/cancellation fee.

Free-time experiences & tours in Portugal

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Portugal! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Portugal program.

Language Lessons
Language Lessons

Enhance your Portuguese language proficiency at the most affordable rate while volunteering in Portugal.

From CA$447
Language Lessons
Language Lessons

Enhance your Portuguese language proficiency at the most affordable rate while volunteering in Portugal.

From CA$447

Portuguese 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$315 (approximately CA$447)
20 Hours: US$630 (approximately CA$894)
30 Hours: US$943 (approximately CA$1338)
40 Hours: US$1258 (approximately CA$1785)
50 Hours: US$1571 (approximately CA$2230)

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

Safety and support with IVHQ

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.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital Lisbon
Population 10.46 million
Languages Portuguese
Currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC+00:00

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.

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How to get started

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