SOS bus Gdansk, Source: Grzegorz Mehring/

SOS for Homelessness Bus runs on the street of Gdansk in winter

SOS for Homelessness Bus runs on the street of Gdansk in winter

Experience shows that alcohol is often the result, not the cause of homelessness

A successful initiative for the homeless is relaunched this winter in Gdansk. This Monday the SOS for Homelessness Bus returned for a third season with four stops, each lasting 45 minutes. It gives a chance to homeless persons to stay in a warm place, have something to eat and get a medical check.

Hot meal, medical check and professional help for the disadvantaged

Starting from November 11, the SOS Bus will run every evening (also on Christmas and New Year's Eve) until the end of March 2020. Yet, homeless people and those who have found themselves in a critical life situation can get a lot more than a warming soup. On the bus provided by the Gdańsk Buses and Trams they can receive support by a social worker and a paramedic, as well as counselling on how to get out of their state. This has helped dozens of people to find jobs and homes in the past.

The last stop on the daily route of the SOS Bus is the hostel at ul. Mostowa, where people who have up to 1.5 per mile of alcohol in the blood can spend the night (above this value a stay in emergency hospital ward is required).

Stories of people who have become homeless show that alcohol is often the result, not the cause of homelessness. The most common causes are diseases and conflicts. Wojciech Bystry from president of Towarzystwo Pomocy reminds that homelessness is year-round, and sunstrokes can kill as often as frost, so we should always react while seeing a person lying on the sidewalk and call for help.

Mobile application to localise and assist homeless persons

It is worth knowing about the free Arrels mobile application which helps to locate people living on the street in the Polish city. Upon seeing a homeless person his or her position can be indicated on the application map by the observing passer-by. This data is received immediately by street workers.

In last year's edition of the SOS Bus, 17,339 hot meals and 1,674 pieces of clothing were distributed to those in need. Every day, an average of 50 to 60 people used the mobile support offer. There are about 1,000 homeless people in the city, estimate local authorities.

The amount of PLN 189 645 for the operation of the SOS bus were secured by the Municipal Family Assistance Centre in Gdańsk, which is also a coordinator of the campaign. The task is carried out by the Przystań Society for Supporting People in Need. 



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