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 photoI 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.