Exterior of our shelter
Every Autumn we are eagerly waiting for a long term weather prognosis for the coming winter. If winter is cold and long, people on streets suffer. Some of the homeless live in gardens, hats or other “lucrative” places. With freezing season they face a dilemma: “Should I stay and suffer or should I go to a nightshelter”. The problem is that once the place is left empty somebody else might come and occupy it. So many of them decide to rather stay then risk losing good place and leave only if absolutely necessary.
Nightshelter which is better equipped after reconstruction became more attractive even for these “seasonal guests”. Additional attractions for many homeless are working groups. Client can join one of our groups which clean streets and can “earn” food and accommodation for 7 nights. The number of clients using nightshelter every night has increased this winter. At the moment we have capacity 200 places with additional room which might be used in emergency situations.
On 6th December the nightshelter attracted people from Bratislava who love good music. Together with Pohoda Festival we organized the second year of Doma dobre (Home is good) festival. Our partner Michal Kašcák always tries to create a unique program which is not possible to see anywhere else. This year we had String quartet (SK) playing Albrechts Carolls, Longitall Suite (SK), Midi lidi (CZ) and My Baby (NL) music groups. Atmosphere was fantastic and more than 600 people really enjoyed music, good food and many interesting discussions.
Among volunteers who helped us during concert was Steven. Always ready to help he also helped us during food collection a month before. He is our client and lives in our shelter. Steven got divorced some time ago. He left the flat with ex-wife and children and moved to a hostel. Later he found a girlfriend and moved to live with her. Last year they separated and he also lost his job. Suddenly his life was in pieces. He became homeless owning nothing just debts. Within few days he contacted Depaul which probably saved him from getting deeper into troubles. We gave him bed at shelter and tried to help him to find a job. In September he participated in a career cancelling course which we organized for our clients. Steven was among five successful clients who got a job soon after the course. As a driver he is delivering goods for a company. He loves his job and boss is happy with him. The shelter is not an easy place for a working person – he works when others are sleeping and wants to sleeps when others are awake. He is eager to leave shelter but cannot. After he pays his debts installments there is not much money left for him to live and pay for hostel. At the moment we are looking for people willing to help him and offer a cheaper rent. And in the meantime he is helping us whenever we need.
During the Christmas time we prepared a special evening for our clients full of music, fantastic food and presents for each client. We could do it thanks to many people who donated money, food, cakes and even gifts. So nobody was alone during this special time.
Doma dobre concert
Doma dobre (home well) concert
Christmas at Nightshelter
Distributing Christmas presents at the shelter