More than 60% of Moscow’s homeless are work migrants



People arriving in the capital looking for work are at increasing risk of joining the ranks of the homeless, according to experts from the Orthodox help agency “Compassion”.

A month ago, “Compassion” opened a help point to combat homelessness at Kazan railway station. So far, 47 people who have fallen on hard times have received support. In the agency’s view, such people can easily become homeless if they don’t receive help straight away.

“60% of Moscow’s homeless come to the capital looking for work, that is to say they have family ties, lodgings, but no work or means of supporting themselves” according the leader of “Compassion”, Deacon Oleg Vyshinsky. In Moscow, such people are assaulted and fall victim to crime, often in the station itself. “If these people aren’t helped during the first few days, they soon become used to life on the streets, find new “friends” and become homeless”.

Those in difficulty can report to a reception point on Kazan station which can be found in the duty manager’s office. Specialists help to re-establish contact with relatives, purchase tickets back home and, if necessary, advise where people can have a meal and take a bath. The reception area for helping the homeless operates three days a week at the station, namely Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The reception area deals with an average of 10 – 15 people a day. Once they’ve spoken to a social worker, more than a third return home using tickets bought by specialists from the agency. A social worker who is managing the reception area at Kazan station will often ring colleagues at other stations and refer people who have fallen on hard times to them, according to the “Compassion” agency. Deacon Oleg Vyshinsky hopes that similar reception areas for preventing homelessness will be established in other Moscow railway stations in future.

As well as the new reception area for homeless people in the Kazan railway station, “Compassion” operates a mobile unit which provides help for homeless people in Moscow hospitals. There is another reception area for the homeless in the Temple of the Virgin Mary. The agency provides help to more than 7,000 homeless people each year.

Author: Yulia Vyatkina

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