New shelters for Moscow’s homeless during pandemic

Moscow’s homeless will be able to stay at Shelters during the COVID-19 Pandemic


The charity Friends’ Houseis booking hostel rooms for homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is called Shelter and its work will continue until the epidemiological situation improves.

Alania Zhurkina, direct of Friends’ House, remarked that the first hostel is already fully occupied. The charity is now opening a second shelter, which will be able to accommodate 120 guests.

There is a social worker based at the hostels and the guests undergo a daily medical check. Everyone is provided with hygiene supplies and products. Along with homeless people, other people who stay at the hostels include those who find themselves in difficult life situations which resulted in homelessness, such as migrants, victims of family conflicts and domestic violence and other such circumstances.

In order to check in to the hostel, people must undergo an X-ray, confirming they do not have tuberculosis, and they must then go through de-processing. After checking in, they will also take a COVID-19 test. The Glinka Centre for Social Adaptation has also joined Friends’ House in this project; at this Centre homeless people will be provided with assistance in taking a medical test and getting to the hostels.

Ms. Zhurkina spoke to “Милосердие.ги” about the rules of living in the shelters, saying “No night parties, no alcohol etc. If you need to smoke, you can go outside. If one of the guests is working and their schedule means they comes back to the hostel after 11pm, then the administrator needs to be notified. To simply go for a walk and come back at 2am is not acceptable”.

People without documents can stay in the hostels. Volunteers are ready to head out to pick up groups of homeless people and take then to the shelters. It is, however, impossible to get a digital pass without documents.

The director of Friends’ House went on to note that, “When a person lives, eats and sleeps on the street, they are not ready for work. They can’t rest, nor can they make themselves look presentable. Now, these people have the opportunity to take a break and then go out to do whatever they can, whether that be as a lorry-loader, a cleaner or something else – depending on their skills”.

The second shelter is currently collecting the necessary personal hygiene products and household items for guests. The hostel is open from midday till 6pm – or even later for Friends’ House guests.

Earlier, Alania Zhurkina spoke with ASI about the difficulties the organisation faced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A particularly issue was with hostels evicting House of Fro9ends guests because they were on re-socialisation programmes.


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