Homeless shelters do not accept new people in the current emergency because of the new coronavirus, and strict hygiene rules apply within their walls.
Shelters are overcrowded.
For those left on the road, municipal services and humanitarian organizations are struggling to provide them with at least food and, in some places, showers as public restrooms are closed. “The homeless are particularly at risk during these times, as their health status is already deteriorating anyway and it would be very difficult to cope with the virus,” he said Darko Bračun from the Archdiocesan Caritas Maribor. They give a roof to 24 homeless people at their shelter. Even before the outbreak of the epidemic, they strictly restricted entry and exit to prevent the introduction of infection. Residents must maintain proper personal hygiene and disinfect their hands, while protective masks and gloves are only mandatory for employees at this time. Covid-19 infections within the shelter have not been reported so far, but there is a growing need for psychosocial assistance, also due to the limited movement of residents.
The Kings of the Street Society warned days ago that homeless shelters were overcrowded, leaving homeless people returning to the streets in fear of infection. They are also aware that living in shelters is not ideal, especially when the country is facing an epidemic, but they are trying to do everything in their power to protect people who are left homeless from infection.
All 24 beds are also full at the homeless shelter, which operates under the auspices of the Maribor Center for Social Work (CSD), and are trying to help the rest by at least providing a warm meal in the social kitchen. The problem is the closure of public toilets in the city, as well as the suspension of health clinics for people without insurance.
In Ljubljana, there are sanitary facilities for the homeless with a shower and a laundry service at the Association of Volunteers of the Vincentian Goodwill Association. The homeless shelter, which is under the auspices of the Ljubljana CSD, is not accepting new users because it is currently full and the food distribution center runs outside the shelter and under stricter hygiene measures. The City of Ljubljana (MOL), however, announced that it had temporarily provided the homeless with new premises. They already have shelters available on Poljanska Road, operated by CSD Ljubljana, and a shelter for homeless drug users, operated by the Šent Society. MOLs are aware that there is a lack of spaces where homeless people can stay and sleep, so they were given temporary shelter and a roof over their head. use of the building on Roman Road 3. The 345-square-meter space was given over to the King of the Street Society for free, and was installed there 20 folding beds with blankets and sheets and provided free water, electricity and heating. The Kings of the Street have to keep order, disinfection and cleanliness.
The municipality also reports that the MOL Public Housing Fund also rents housing units to non-governmental organizations that provide public interest in the housing field and implement housing programs in them. The Vincenzo Goodwill Association therefore rents one apartment unit, the process of renting another unit is ongoing, and the Kings of the Street Society has nine rental units.
Because the homeless shelter in Nova Gorica had to be closed, the municipality of Novogorje arranged for the establishment of two overnight containers and a chemical toilet near the day care center for homeless people and drug users. In cooperation with the staff of the Šent Society, it will be ensured that the homeless will have daily access to toilets and showers at pre-determined dates, individually by appointment. They also enjoy a daily hot meal and drinking water.
Last week, information emerged about a homeless man suspected to be infected with the new coronavirus. The person was tested and the test was negative, the municipality of Novogorje was told.
The work was also heavily adapted at the day care center for the homeless of the Diocese of Caritas in Koper, Bertoki. As the head of the center explained Darja the Beast, are now open two days instead of five times two days a week. The services available to the homeless have been limited to using showers and toilets and charging their mobile phone if they have one. In addition, they are also offered a cold-food package at each visit, which they previously only received once a week. “We are aware that this group lives on from people who go to stores that linger outside, and that is not the case now,” stated the Beast.
Previously encouraging users in Bertoki to stay in the day care center and make contact for as long as possible, the visit to the center is now limited to a maximum of two people, with one using the shower and the other receiving a food package. After each use, the shower is thoroughly disinfected, allowing up to seven showers in one shift. Zverova also pointed to the psychological distress of their users, who, in the current situation, are afraid and need an interlocutor at least for a telephone conversation.