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Aug 22, 2019

Night shelter, Espress-Help and homeless guy story

Congratulations! On Monday, 15 July, together with Nochlezhka and Espress-Help campaign you opened a Night shelter for the homeless in St.Petersburg. It has 40 beds, two showers, 3 washing machines and 3 tumble driers. This shelter is near the Obukhovo metro station, at the same spot where our heated tent was located for many winters. Just imagine, from now on, 40 people will be able to sleep there, warm and safe, every night all year round. 

ur president Grisha told people at the opening ceremony how the shelter will function. I’ll tell you, too: our night shelter is a one-storey modular building near the metro with a capacity to accommodate 40 people where anyone can spend a night, have a hot meal, charge their phone and get some medical help. It’s completely free of charge and they won’t need to present any papers, references or certificates.
Our Night shelter is equipped with two showers and a toilet, as well as a laundry with three washing machines and tumble driers. Nochlezhka will connect the building to the city sewer and to water supply by the end of 2019. Currently residents of the shelter can use a composting toilet. 

Two attendants are always present at the shelter during opening hours: they will show people around and refer them to social workers and lawyers of the charity.
I would also like to tell you about one of our clients, Dima. 

Dima has been living in our Shelter for three months now. He’s a well-built fair-haired young man with blue eyes. I had written a fair amount about Dima before I met him in person: I asked for a bag and dumbbells for him on social media, and then a tracksuit and trainers. And then one lovely morning, I was walking to work and saw Dima skipping and doing weights in Nochlezhka’s courtyard. The very same ones that he got through social media. I was overjoyed: here are the results of Nochlezhka’s work and my personal work, too. And then Dima came up and greeted me, said that he recognised me because he followed Nochlezhka on VK. And you know, I write quite a lot on how important it is to see a person behind their homelessness, but this was a very powerful emotional experience, meeting true smiling Dima like this, in the morning. Chatting to him and learning that he was feeling nervous before being photographed and that he was waiting for journalists. That he had his own story, his own habits and his own smile, all the things that the word ‘homeless’ will not tell you about.

The journalists Dima was waiting for arrived and made several very important reports on him. In each of them Dima talks about his life which is far from being easy, his painful experiences and fatal mistakes. He told them that he was volunteering for the Night Bus and giving out food to the hungry and that he would always respond to a call for help. That’s him in the photo

I would like to tell you so much more but I think the newsletter is already quite long. So I will bid you goodbye for now, until next time! And should you wish to find out more about Nochlezhka’s life, you can have a look at our Annual Report for 2018.
May 23, 2019

What do Elon Musk and Irina L. have in common?

Irina L.
Irina L.

As always, we have plenty to tell you!

What should I start with?
Perhaps with the tragic story of Irina L. that so many people learnt about last month. This woman is currently living in our shelter. And all of Nochlezhka's team would like to thank her for her courage! Because courage is required to tell people you don't know about your grief. Sharing your pain is scary, especially when you've been bottling it up for years. 

I am not going to retell you the whole story. But if you are ready to read a story full of tears and bitterness, below you will find a letter from Irina L. to a nonexistent Aunt Nyura. To an imaginary relative and loved one, who will accept and console. This message is one of the letters published by the Dozhd channel as part of 'Letters from Non-Strangers' project. This series consists of five letters from people who have found themselves in a difficult situation and who are currently being helped by five renowned Russian charities. Dr. Liza's Fair Aid, Advita, the Faith Foundation, Nochlezhka and the Alive Foundation. 

This woman's story caused a huge response from readers. We received messages and letters with offers of help: clothes, housing and just words of support. 

And last week, Irina L. celebrated her birthday. People who have lived through so much pain and grief are normally not bothered by all sorts of celebrations. But the woman wanted to make this day special for those around her, for her roommates. And we think that this is an act of a huge human heart: to make sure that those near you feel at least a tiny bit happier. 

At the request of Irina L., we found a wonderful pastry chef, Julia, who made an excellent cake for the women of the Shelter! A special cake which is suitable for people with diabetes! 
Here they are, the people I've been talking about: Irina L., her roommates, smiling Julia and the pretty cake!

I also want to share with you our new social advertising campaign!
I must admit, that I love both the concept designed by the Great advertising agency and the fact that the campaign was launched on the Cosmonautics Day in Russia!

With this poster, we once again wanted to tell everyone who saw it: life on the street is as unbearable as life in the open space without water or air. 
And another thing is that taking into account all tremendous achievements of science and technology, it is particularly shocking to think of the conditions some people have to survive in. 

Here is the poster. You can already find it in Moscow, and it will soon be posted at St. Petersburg Planetarium!

The poster says: ‘How do you like this, Ilon Musk? Tens of thousands of people are living in Moscow in conditions unfit for life, without water, food or warmth… just like on Mars.’

That’s about it.

Irina’s letter:

Dear Aunt Nyura!

I am writing to you in the hope of a miracle, that I will no longer be alone. But time passes and I am still alone, but I don’t lose hope. I want to tell you the story of my life.

I had a happy childhood. I got married early and had twins, a boy and a girl. Everything was going well, the children were growing up, I loved my husband, my parents were kind and loving, and everyone loved them. And then, all of a sudden, a tragedy happened which it was hard to get over.

When I was told that a driver on drugs run over both my children, I felt a pain which words cannot describe. As if someone had torn all of my inside out and nothing had been left.

They would always hold hands, they would run around together and they also left me together. The boy died immediately, and the girl a few days later. They were only twelve years old.

Our family was not able to live through such a sorrow. A year later my dad passed away, then my mum, then my sister. Everyone's heart gave up. This pain and grief turned everything upside down. A distance started growing between me and me husband. We got a divorce. I decided to sell my flat and buy a different one but I got deceived. I was on my own and I didn't know what to do. I felt like I was falling.

I moved to a different city to find a job. Time went by. I was renting, aware that I would never be able to buy. I've had asthma for 25 years, so I got hospitalised after a strong attack and spent months there. I couldn't get up with asthma and other health issues so I had to learn to walk and use a wheel chair. I couldn't do anything without someone's help. I am grateful to all my doctors and nurses, to everyone who helped me.

I don't know how I recovered but I think my prayers helped. I believe in God, so a priest came to me while I was in hospital and I confessed and took communion.

I can walk a bit now and I've been admitted to a shelter.

I would like to thank everyone who is helping me with all my heart. Thank you for reading this. I wish you all the best. God bless you.

 

Jan 24, 2019

Time to look back and dream

2018 was a pivotal year for Nochlezhka. We decided to open an office in Moscow to be able to do more for people in need all over the country, to discuss the issue of homelessness on the federal level and to establish a system of comprehensive assistance to the homeless in Moscow. We’re looking for premises in Moscow to open a shelter and a counselling service, a launderette, showers and clothes handout point. We’re already training our colleagues from charities and state institutions in Moscow so that they can help the homeless more effectively. We run campaigns in parks around Moscow and arrange our public adverts to be posted around Moscow. We already have a lot of work in Moscow, where we have 3 employees and 50 volunteers. This is just the beginning! We have very ambitious plans for 2019!


As for St. Petersburg, we already have 35 employees here and over 1000 volunteers, who are our most reliable supporters and friends. All Nochlezhka’s projects combined, we help around 500-600 people daily. Next year, we’ll open large showering facilities and a heated night shelter where all year round anyone will be able to spend a warm and safe night. We’ll update and relaunch our programme for people suffering from alcohol or drug addiction for the homeless – we have found a separate flat where we can run it.


Last year, 145 people lived in our shelter at 112B, Borovaya Street. Our social workers consulted 8269 people, and our lawyers — 857 people. 2945 people came to our Night Bus with varying regularity and our volunteers handed out 17673 hot meals.


Our entire team wishes you a happy new year. May it be filled with kindness and harmony, may it bring you discoveries and new adventures while you’re surrounded by wonderful people and amazing endeavours!

 
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