A protest against a Hungarian law amendment that bans anyone from living and sleeping in a public space was held on Sunday.
A few hundred people gathered in Kossuth Square in front of Parliament and were addressed by a number of celebrated Hungarian writers.
The law amendment comes into force on Monday.
At the demonstration organised by the activist group The City is for Everyone (A Város Mindenkié), Márta Erdőhegyi, a member of the group, said punishment was not a solution to the problem of homelessness, and instead people should be helped to get hold of a home.
Whereas homeless refuges provide security and help for many, more durable and worthy solutions are needed to eliminate homelessness, she added.
Attila Fülop, the state secretary for social affairs and inclusion, reacted that real help comes in the form of services that Hungary’s homeless actually make use of.
The change of law, enshrined in Hungary’s constitution, bans people from inhabiting a public space.
There are altogether 19,000 places available for homeless people in shelters, where they have access to all amenities, Fülop told a press conference.
The government is spending 9.1 billion forints (EUR 28m) on homeless care this year, Fülop said, adding that it has decided to set up a reserve fund of 300 million forints for extra homeless provision.
Lajos Dani-Győri, the vice president of the Hungarian Maltese Charity, said their responsibilities will not change with the new law, and the charity has the necessary infrastructure to provide for the homeless.
Featured image: MTI