Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Prague prepares winter overnight accommodation for homeless

ČTK |
4 October 2017

Prague, Oct 3 (CTK) - The Prague Centre of Social Services (CSSP) is planning the same measures as in previous years to provide an increased capacity of overnight accommodation for the homeless, expand the activity of day centres and distribute food, CSSP director Tomas Jan told CTK on Tuesday.

The winter mode of services for the homeless runs from early December until the end of March.

The CSSP facility has a total of 233 beds on its Hermes boat and 80 beds in a flophouse in Michle. In winter, this capacity is enhanced by day centres and private hostels leased to the city by private entrepreneurs.

Further services are provided also by the Salvation Army, Nadeje charity organisation and the Archdiocesan Charity Prague, while CSSP coordinates their activities for the homeless in winter.

Prague pays about ten million crowns for these services annually. There are approximately 4,000 to 4,500 homeless people in Prague with a population of 1.3 million, of which about 1,600 live in the street.

The majority of Prague's homeless use overnight accommodation services, but experts say many refuse to adapt to the rules of these facilities as regards alcohol consumption or entry with dogs among else.

These people are assisted by field workers, who made 13,000 contacts with the homeless last winter.

The flophouses were used by 88 percent on average last winter. As of the start of December till the end of March, these facilities registered 22,647 nights. They were used by 85 percent of men, one third of the total had a permanent residence in Prague, one fourth were foreigners, most often Slovaks.

In case of severe frosts, the capacity of hostels is increased by heated tents. They were used last time in 2012 when they provided 2,500 nights.

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