About 500 homeless people will be able to sleep in dormitories and similar facilities in Prague this winter.
The dormitories will open on December 1 in extended winter operation. In the winter months, capacity will also increase and the operating hours of low-threshold day centers will be extended.
Homeless people can also get vaccinated in the facilities, according to Prague councilor Milena Johnová (Praha Sobě) and director of the city’s contributory organization Prague Social Services Center (CSSP) Martin Šimáček. CSSP is the main coordinator of winter services, in which non-profit organizations also participate.
There are two facilities for homeless people to evade covid
“We managed to vaccinate some homeless people in cooperation with non-governmental organizations during the year, and we want to use winter humanitarian measures to further increase vaccinations. We will offer people vaccinations on arrival on dormitories on selected days, and vaccinations will continue in low-threshold centers,” Johnová said.
She added that about 500 people underwent vaccinations at events in locations where homeless people stay. Other homeless people have been vaccinated in shelters.
According to the councilor, the vaccination coverage of the homeless population is about ten to 15 percent. Per Johnová, it is not possible to determine exactly how many homeless people there are in Prague, though estimates are around 5,000 people.
In connection with COVID, the number of people on the street is increasing. According to the councilor, the number of people at risk of homelessness is also higher.
According to Šimáček, it is necessary to monitor the health status of homeless people when providing accommodation. There are two social housing facilities for homeless people to get rid of coronavirus infection or to spend quarantine or isolation.
Their capacity is a total of 72 seats. According to the director of the CSSP, almost half of the beds are now occupied, and the number of beds for weaning will increase if necessary. A special transport vehicle provided by the R-Mosty organization is used to transport people infected with coronavirus, people suspected of being infected or homeless people with quarantine.
The Hermes can accommodate up to 180 homeless people
For this winter, the capacity of dormitories and facilities with all-day operation is 539 beds. The non-profit organization Naděje opened a dormitory with a capacity of 60 beds in Smíchov and a low-threshold night center in Michle on Wednesday, said Hana Šimková, a spokeswoman for the organization.
The Salvation Army will now operate the Kloubovy domy facility in Prague 9, which is primarily intended for the elderly and with chronic diseases. The capacity of this year’s open facility with all-day operation is up to 40 people. Up to 56 other people on the street can spend the night in a dormitory on Tusarova Street, where the Salvation Army also provides services.
According to the director of the city organization, up to 180 homeless people can spend the night on the Hermes ship, where services are offered by the staff of the Prague Social Services Center. The facility is open all year round.
So far in November, it was used by about 120 people a day. The CSSP dormitory for 88 people in the area of the Michle heating plant opened last week due to the freezing weather, Šimáček informed.
Prague also provides accommodation for homeless people in rented hostels, said Johnová. The city leased them for this purpose in Spring 2020 in connection with the COVID-19 epidemic. According to the councilor, about 200 people now live in the four rented accommodation facilities.