In abandoned allotment sheds, near heating stations, in empty buildings – these are places where people in crisis of homelessness try to hide from the cold. For them, winter is the most difficult time of the year. Since the beginning of the month, three people have died from hypothermia.
Mrs. Regina has been homeless for almost six years. After her husband’s death, she lost her apartment. Then she had an accident. Since then he has been using a wheelchair. Her pension is not enough to rent an apartment. The woman lives in a vacant building. – No light, no water. My feet are so cold in the morning that it’s a tragedy, says Mrs. Regina Biskup, a resident of Poznań in a crisis of homelessness. With a friend who helps her every day, Mrs. Regina collects money for a gas cylinder. She cannot go to the shelter because she is not registered in Poznań. In winter, he looks for warmth in the municipal heating plant.
Winter is the hardest time for people in the homelessness crisis. They are at risk of hunger and hypothermia. A year ago, in Szczecin alone, the city guard visited the homeless over 2,700 times. – We pay attention to their conditions and encourage them to accept help – explains the inspector. Joanna Wojtach, spokeswoman for the City Guard in Szczecin.
Caritas also helps people survive the winter. Volunteers bring what is most needed to survive the frost. – We provide warm, hot soup, essential soup with bread, canned goods, warm blankets, woolen socks – enumerates Janusz Sukiennik from Caritas Polska.
Since the beginning of the month, three people have died from hypothermia. Unfortunately, there were eight of them in November. – If we see a person in crisis of homelessness, lying, for example, at a bus stop or under a garbage shelter, call the services. They know how to take care of such a person – emphasizes Paweł Trawka from Caritas of the Archdiocese of Wrocław.
We can help ourselves the most. Sometimes it’s enough to approach and ask “if everything is OK” and call emergency number 986 or 112. City guards, ambulance services and the police will indicate an appropriate place – for example, a diner or a shelter. A call to emergency services can save a life. – I help sometimes. I lift the person or call an ambulance. I also help such people. I just know what it means. I’m also cold, so I know what it means – says Magdalena Romanczyk, a resident of Poznań in the crisis of homelessness.
It doesn’t take much to give a helping hand to another person. Sometimes you just need to grab the phone and don’t hesitate – call.
List of diocesan facilities providing assistance to people in a homelessness crisis can be found on the Caritas Polska website. In the case of Warsaw – all information about helping individual homeless people can be obtained on the Warszawa 19115 portal.
Main photo source: Fakty po Południu TVN24