More people needing homeless services in Tallinn

A homeless shelter in Tallinn.
A homeless shelter in Tallinn. Source: ERR

The number of homeless people is rising in Estonia's capital and there are few available places in shelters. The share of women among rough sleepers has also grown.

Raimo Saadi, head of Tallinn Social Welfare and Health Care Board, said the number of homeless people who need help from the city has risen compared to last autumn.

"There is certainly an increase in the overall need for assistance, but it has certainly had an impact on the fact that we have opened a shelter in a new location instead of the old one, which has been very well received by clients. It has also had an impact on why we have a little bit more homeless people on the service compared to last autumn for example," Saadi told Sunday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

Shelters open at 7 p.m. each night and it is possible to cook, wash, and sleep at these facilities, AK reported. It is also possible to pick up warm clothes.

Kersti Põldemaa, head of Tallinn's Social Work Center, said the city's homeless night shelters are practically full and it is difficult to accommodate more people.

"This is also due to the fact that a certain group of people have unfortunately stayed in the hostel for a long time. However, we are trying to change this /.../ so that there is a natural movement. People need shelter for a short period of time and then move on to the right services," Põldemaa said.

She said more women have needed to use the shelters' services in recent years.

"Women somehow managed their lives better. Now we have a total of ten places for women in the hostels, and they are full practically all the time," she said.

There are more than 600 homeless people in Tallinn who receive assistance from the city, but there are fewer than 100 shelter beds. However, the exact number of homeless people in the capital is unknown as some people try to manage by themselves.

"We ourselves estimate these people to be somewhere in the region of 100, but it is very difficult to put a figure on that because it is a matter of experience as to how many there might be," said Saadi.

Põldemaa said when winter arrives Tallinn will have to start looking for additional accomodation.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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