New York Times

Covid-19 Conundrum in Rome: More Homeless on Streets as Shelters Shrink

March 8 2021


Distancing measures have forced shelters to limit capacity, leaving many homeless people vulnerable to harsh weather and other hardships.

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"The winter has been especially hard: Since November, 12 homeless people have died on the streets of Rome, where a growing number of people have ended up because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But even as the need increases, those in Rome who care for the homeless are challenged by restrictions put in place to keep people healthy, like those that require beds to be a certain distance apart.
The 200 beds at his shelter at Rome’s Termini train station have dropped to 60. Many local parishes that once offered bunk beds in back rooms to the homeless during the coldest months are not doing so this year.
“It’s a question of protection,” said Marco Pavani, a volunteer at a shelter for older homeless men inside the Church of San Calisto, run by the Community of St. Egidio, a Catholic charity. Capacity there fell to 10 beds from 30, after wooden partitions were erected between the cots to ensure social distancing".                   

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[ Elisabetta Povoledo ]