Severe frosts dangerous for the homeless

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Winter in Warsaw. Fot. E.Lach
Winter in Warsaw. Fot. E.Lach

Very low temperature, reaching several degrees below zero, continuing for a few days in Warsaw poses a lethal threat especially for the homeless.

Every year, the Capital City of Warsaw designates money which enable persons in a dire need of shelter to survive the hard, frosty days. Warsaw assigns this task to non-governmental organizations providing the homeless with a shelter and meal. In 2016, these expenses will amount to nearly PLN 11 million.

The homeless can get a free of charge food - 7 eating-houses serve 2 thousand meals a day, but when it is freezing cold - up to 3 thousand. Those, who are in need can spend a night in 20 accommodation establishments that can accommodate almost 1500 people in total. Currently there is 50 vacant places. Additionally, in the winter period, there are two daily heating rooms, the homeless can also use a bath, laundry, 4 counselling points, including the service of Doctors of Hope Association, the street workers network is also available, which monitors non-residential places and motivates the homeless to use the institutions.

Assistance granted by the Municipal Guard. At the beginning of 2016 Warsaw municipal guards have selected 127 places (vacant buildings, gazebos, allotment gardens) where it is estimated that rotationally more than 400 homeless people stay. In the course of periodical inspections of these places the guards will check the conditions in which these persons live and offer assistance. During the winter season 2014/2015 the municipal guard conducted more than 6 000 inspections of the so-called non-residential places. As a result, e.g. 955 people were transported to night shelters and hostels, in more than 170 cases, it was necessary to the officers to call for medical help. Tomorrow, 5 January, starts the annual campaign of the Municipal Guard of delivering warm meals to the individuals who refuse to transfer to the night shelters.

In the last winter season the policemen served more than 10 000 portions of soups to the homeless persons (ca. 260 portions per day). The information on the homeless people can be given directly to the Municipal Guard at phone no 986.