Budapest, November 3 (MTI) – Every homeless person will be able to find shelter over the winter as the facilities in charge are set to expand capacity to accommodate an additional 1,500 people, the director of the Shelter Foundation, a civil group specialising in homelessness services, told the daily Magyar Hirlap on Tuesday.

Zoltan Aknai said that on the coldest days, the foundation will be likely to receive hundreds of emergency calls about homeless people in need of immediate help.

The paper noted that the government spends an annual 8.5 billion forints (EUR 27.2m) on caring for rough sleepers and financing homeless shelters.

Civil groups providing care for homeless people have recently started preparing for the winter and the government has decided to extend financing to 83 organisations providing street outreach services, allocating 540 million forints for the cause.

Some 7,500 homeless people are estimated to be using day shelter facilities each day, the paper said.

Dispatch centres will also be busy during the winter, as their job will be to continually monitor the number of homeless in the street and keep a close eye on shelter occupancy rates, it said.

Nearly half of Hungary’s homeless, about 10,000-12,000 people, live in Budapest while the rest reside in other larger cities.


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