Project #13519

Help homeless person in Russia to find a job

by Nochlezhka
Dear friends!
We are happy to share our most important news with you. And thank you on behalf of our clients!

Nochlezhka has published its annual report for 2015

We spent a lot of time on making a detailed and impressive report of our work over the past year. Firstly, to tell you how we spent the money donated to Nochlezhka and how many people we managed to help. Secondly, to have the results of an entire year of work presented in this compact and concentrated way, so that one could see straight away what we do and why we need support.

Read the report

Some good stories
Melik's story (name is changed)

A deaf man called Melik with an Armenian passport came to Nochlezhka's counselling service. He struggled to read in Russian and could not write. The man really wanted to get back home, to Yerevan.

We managed to find his sister on Skype and get in touch with her. Then we found an Armenian company in St. Petersburg: it turned out that there are minibuses going from St. Petersburg to Yerevan once a week, on Saturdays.

Our social worker arranged with Melik's sister that she would pay for his ticket in Yerevan and let us know on the following Friday. At that time we had no vacancies in our shelter so we had to say goodbye to Melik until Friday.

On the agreed day, before the departure of the bus (his sister had managed to find enough money and pay the fare for her brother) the man caused a bit of a panic: he was an hour late and arrived with a lot of bruises. Our social worker drew a map for Melik to show him where the minibus was leaving from. The man managed to get there, explain the situation to the driver and on Saturday he set off to Armenia. And on Sunday evening he was already at home!

Nochlezhka's role in this story was minimal but where else in St. Petersburg could a deaf person who could barely speak any Russian find this minimal help? At the same time it's quite obvious that he would find surviving on the streets extremely difficult.

Denis' story (name is changed)
Denis had been coming to Nochlezhka for help for several months: we gave him metro tickets, a mobile phone to look for a job, consulted him on how to get his papers re-issued. Denis was determined to find and job and he walked a lot not to use the metro tickets we'd given him for nothing. Eventually he found a job at a hypermarket and slept in the utility room to begin with.
Not so long ago the young man came to our counselling service and asked us to count how many tickets he had taken from us over the time we were helping him (our employees have a special digital database and keep records of all the aid we provide - it helps us track the progress of helping a particular person and also to prepare statistics for our reports). It turned out it was only 10 of them.
The following day Denis came to our counselling service again and brought ten metro tickets and the very mobile phone he had got from us. The young man asked us to give it all to the "deserving people". He said he could now pay his own travel expenses and that he had bought a new phone.

Results of our work over May — August

1. ur social workers consulted 971 people and lawyers - 102 people.

2. 947 people were fed, volunteers of the organization handed out 5917 portions of hot meal.

3. 125 people lived in our rehabilitation Shelter.

Nochlezhka held a seminar on issues related to housing for homeless people

On 19 May Nochlezhka's experts organised a seminar for their colleagues where they spoke about obtaining housing for homeless people. There were 24 participants from state and non-governmental organisations of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region. We believe that such dialogues between officials and non-governmental organisations are helpful in creating a govermental system of prevention of homelessness.

a cat and a volunteer in our the Shelter
a cat and a volunteer in our the Shelter

Dear Friends! 

We want to share some stories from homeless people, whom we were able to help. We find these stories very inspiring! Thank you on behalf of our clients for your support.

Slava's story

For a few months Nochlezhka’s shelter was a home to Slava, who had been brought up in an orphanage and who had lost his flat as a result of a fraud. With the help of his social worker, Lena Kondrakhina, the young man managed to get his papers re-issued and started working with the Raul Foundation which helps people from orphanages and special needs schools. Over the course of two months Slava did an internship in a large energy company and in February he was officially employed there.

Slava took part in the video we made where people living in our shelter were reading comments posted online about the homeless. Having seen him in this video, a girl from Moscow wanted to help him and offered to pay for his travel card to cover the cost of his commute for a year. This was a generous and a very timely offer, since Nochlezhka cannot pay its clients travel expenses and this expenditure is unavoidable and takes a significant share of one’s wages.

His social worker Lena also contacted a social hostel for minors and managed to arrange a room for Slava there despite him being older than 18. The young man had not been quite comfortable in our shelter with dormitories for 10 people, where most people were a lot older than him. Meanwhile, Nochlezhka’s experts continue to fight for his rights and have contested the fraud transaction involving his flat.

Alexey's story

This sad story ended well, even with a hint of magic. It’s frightening to think, though, what would have happened if there was no such place as Nochlezhka in St. Petersburg.

On 28 December last year Alexey came to our counselling service. By then he had spent several nights at our heated tent in Obukhovo (district of St. Petersburg), where he was told that he should go to our counselling service and seek advice from our social workers.

The man was suffering from memory loss and had no papers. He could only remember his name, his date of birth and that he was from Gomel (Ukraine) and, perhaps, had come to St. Petersburg to find a job. Alexey could not remember what happened next. Most likely, the man got serious injuries, maybe a concussion.

While Alexey was being examined at the first aid unit for homeless people at the Botkin Hospital, our social worker Kira Podlipaeva called the Housing Authority in charge of the district of Gomel where Alexey thought he was from. Kira sent a few more emails to various institutions asking them to help find Alexey’s relatives, contact them and find out whether there was indeed someone under that name registered at the address given by Alexey.

It’s hard to believe but late in the evening of the same day, Kira got a call from the Housing Authority from Gomel! They had found Alexey’s mother (the address turned out to be right!), gave her Nochlezhka’s contact details and were willing to provide more help if needed.

Kira gave Alexey’s mother a call, and the woman was ready to get on the train to come and take her son the following day. It turned out that Alexey had left home to find a job earlier in the autumn and his mother hadn’t heard from him for a while. Kira contacted the attendant at our heated tent in Obukhovo to pass the happy news to Alexey and ask him not to go anywhere, so that he wouldn’t miss his mum’s arrival.

Kira gave the woman detailed directions to the tent where her son was waiting for her. And during the first days of the new year the meeting took place and Alexey went back home to Gomel with his mother.

We made a video where homeless people read out some comments about them posted online

This video got over 40,000 views. It shows how easy it is to write really nasty and cruel things about some abstract homeless people, an unknown human mass, and how different it is to actually see the eyes of particular people who have found themselves in trouble. This is another attempt to show the society that there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. There are only people.

a women
a women's room in the Shelter
distributing of soup in the shelter
distributing of soup in the shelter
rehab shelter
rehab shelter

Dear friends!

We are happy to share our resuts of Septermer-November with you. And thank you on behalf of our clients!

One of our stories

Victor came to us to ask for help. Like many people released from prison, he had nowhere to go once he was free. Before release, many inmates are advised by the prison authorities to go straight to Nochlezhka, a charity, after arriving in Saint-Petersburg (just a little remark on the subject of rehabilitation for ex-convicts)
The man was thinking of going to Karelia, to a monastery where they were willing to accept him as a monk. He had no money for a ticket though. He had nowhere to live either, so while looking for a job he would have had to sleep rough.
Nochlezhka contacted a friendly association called Bilet Domoi ('Ticket Home') which bought the man a ticket, and he managed to get to the monastery.
Our social workers say that they did not play much of a role in this story. As little as 770 roubles (the cost of the ticket) was enough to save a man from the street which every day gets harder and harder to get away from. We wanted to share this story with you because it demonstrates how having somewhere to go for help can prevent homelessness.

Results of Nochlezhka’s rehabilitation shelter in 112B, Borovaya street
In September, October and November our shelter accommodated 168 people, who received full support from our social workers, lawyers and therapists. 

The results of the Counselling Service
In September, October and November social counselling was provided to 1247 people and legal advice to 154 people.

The results of the Night Bus project
Over September, October and November 1554 people used its services with varying regularity and the volunteers gave out 10,355 hot meals.

Thank you for your support and interest in our projects!

With our heartfelt gratitude, Nochlezhka Team



councelling service
councelling service
the Night Bus
the Night Bus

Dear friends,

in this report we want to share with you some lifestories of our beneficiaries in their own words. These people used to live at streets and now they have work and place where to live, they can hope and make plans. These stories shows once again how difficult can be way from the streets back to the ordinary life.

Thank you for the support!

YURI, 50 y.o.

«I was born in Moldova SSR when my mother was on vacation there. Then we came back to Saint Petersburg, it was called Leningrad back then. Before the army I worked in Estonia, I had a third grade in welding and in the army I got the fourth, when I returned from the army I got the fifth and sixth grade in welding and became a valued specialist, I even graduated with honors with a degree in welding.

In the early 90's I had to quit the main job at the plant and started to moonlight here and there. I've learned how to be a stove-maker. I can completely make any stove — large or small. I have a lot of professions, I can do almost everything. One day I moved to Divinskaya village, near Luga, I lived there for four years. I worked for some people there and lived in their house as a caretaker.

But once, when I was sawing a log, a shard of wood hit me in the eye and left me completely blind, I was no longer needed by anyone. I went to the train station myself, took a train and got to the Baltic station, where I found a medical center. Then I was sent to the Eye Center at Liteyny avenue, then moved to the Ozerki hospital but finally they threw me out because, as they said, my medical insurance had expired. I lost my eye because they did not do do the surgery in time. And again I went to the Baltic Station, where Nochlezhka's guys already helped me once. I lived in Nochlezhka's heating point for a month, after that I was taken to Nochlezhka's Counselling Service. At that point, I was completely unable to see. Before that, I had an aunt here in St. Petersburg, she wanted to leave her apartment to me, but in the end in her will she left her apartments to some relatives in Moldova. I was upset that no one needed me. My aunt died — and I am all alone, my other relatives live abroad. I had an elder brother but he had died too».

Yuri spent about a year and a half in Nochlezhka's shelter: during this time he had several eye surgeries, and he was surveyed to an elective surgery of the spine. He was assigned to disability group II, he got the pension and collected all the necessary documents for a home for the elderly. In the autumn of 2014 he moved to Poklonnogorsky home for the elderly and disabled, and he really likes it there. He regularly visits his friends in Nochlezhka.

PAVEL, 38 y.o.

«I became homeless a long time ago. It was 1993 or 1994. My parents were divorced and I lived with my mum. She ran a business. We had two apartments but they were mortgaged, and when she was unable to pay the debt, the apartments passed into the posession of the bank. Since then I have been a tramp. I was only 16 years old. At first we lived in rented apartments. Then I lived with my father for some time, but at that point he already had another family and it was not an option to stay and live there. Then I joined the army. After the army, when I was 21, I lived in a dorm. I went to a factory and became an apprentice turner and got two specialties in lathe and milling machine.

So I worked in the factory and lived my life. But, as it often happens, the alcohol messed my life up. I started losing jobs. And one day I just found myself out on the street. After the army I worked only for two years, perhaps, and since then for almost 14 years I have lived in the street. My mother died in 2001. I haven't heard from my father for one and a half year. I do not know what happened to him, I wrote letters and I tried to call him by the phone but was unable to find him. I am from Bashkiria, and have been in St. Petersburg for three years now.

Now I live soberly, and my life is getting better, somehow it is recovering: now I have documents and I have a job. All the people around think that if a person drinks, it is only their fault. And if you try to look into it deeply, you will find that alcoholism is a disease, and it is transmitted on the genetic level. It is almost unreal to stop drinking if you have a bad heredity. Especially for a man who has no one to support or help him, for a single person».

When Pavel was in Nochlezhka's shelter, he was involved in the «Halfway house» project. During his stay, with the help of our social workers, he obtained the registration, restored his ITN, the certificate of pension insurance and military ID card. Thanks to this, now he has an official job and rents an apartment.

A social worker gives our client a donated phone.
A social worker gives our client a donated phone.

Dear friends!

Thank you for the support! We sent out the last Nochlezhka report three months ago, and now we are glad to tell you about our latest accomplishments.

It is important to not let someone end up on the street

An important part of our job in preventing homelessness is providing support to people who are on the edge. The faster we manage to get people off the street, the less immersed they are in the new and difficult existence; the easier it is to bring them back to regular life.

Andrey, a retired military pilot who is now involved in scholarly work and has several patents for his inventions, spent a week in our rehabilitation shelter. He used to rent an apartment, but his documents and money were stolen from there. During his stay at Nochlezhka our social workers helped him prepare the paperwork for a new passport and get a temporary ID. Due to that, Andrey was able to get his bank card reissued, so now he can access his pension and pay for an apartment. Andrey came back to regular life, and it is excellent that he did not end up on the streets, because the line between having a home and being homeless is a thin one.

One story about how we help people

Sometimes the way to help a homeless person is by connecting them to the world they lived in before. One of the current residents of our shelter is a woman who spent more than 10 years working as a props and decorations specialist at the Circus at Fontanka. We told the circus staff about the difficult situation that L.M. was facing and they took it to heart, collecting money to buy her a transportation pass, promising to add money to it, and looking for the possibility of giving employment at the circus to her son.

Now our social worker is collaborating with the circus leadership and HR department in trying to navigate the situation with the queue for getting residence where our client was on one of the first positions during her employment. And of course the support of her colleagues plays an important part in the psychological rehabilitation of L.M.

Four Days a Week

Our shelter at Borovaya Str.112B is still the largest shelter for homeless people in Saint Petersburg and Russia. We can provide shelter to 52 people who find themselves sin a difficult life situation.

Social workers and lawyers at Nochlezhka’s consulting service are open for consulations four days a week. Our specialists meet with approximately 35 people per day. Anyone can come in for a professional consultation, whether they have documents or not.

Since the beginning of the year our social workers provided 1833 consultations, and the lawyers provided 221 legal consultations.

Slava Samonov, Nochlezhka lawer
Slava Samonov, Nochlezhka lawer
Yury, Nochlezhka client, former homeless
Yury, Nochlezhka client, former homeless

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Organization Information


Location: St.Petersburg, n/a - Russia
Project Leader:
Grigory Sverdlin
St.Petersburg, Russia
$19,275 raised of $97,400 goal
403 donations
$78,125 to go
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