Winter buses for homeless people are on the road again

Winter buses for homeless people are on the road again

The homeless aid organization in Berlin (Obdachlosenhilfe Berlin) is sending their winter buses out onto the streets again. From Monday on, the teams of volunteers and professionals will be on the road until late at night to help people in need. They offer warm tea, clothing, sleeping mats and sleeping bags as well as free rides to emergency shelters. This aid project for homeless people will run throughout the colder months, until the end of March.

Kältebus wird vorbereitet

© dpa

A driver loads the winter bus with sleeping bags and prepares for a shift.

With the colder season arriving, demand in Berlin's emergency shelters has already increased significantly, a spokeswoman for the Berlin City Mission explained. The organization is therefore operating three cold weather buses instead of two this season. In addition, an ambulance will drive around once a week and provide medical care to those in need.
The past season was marked by the Coronavirus pandemic and the closure of several emergency facilities. Therefore, volunteers and helpers were especially busy during the cold spell of February 2021. According to a spokesperson, the Berlin Red Cross winter bus team received around 1,700 calls in 150 nights - significantly more than the year before. It established contact with about 1650 people in need, 340 of whom were brought to emergency shelters.
Passers-by who see people in need can call the buses of the City Mission and the Red Cross via a hotline. However, it is important to politely ask the people beforehand whether they are willing to go to an emergency shelter, the City Mission spokeswoman stressed. Otherwise, the winter bus may come in vain when it could have been helping someone in another place in the city.
The Cold Aid (Kältehilfe) in Berlin is organized by church and social agencies and relies on tje the help of volunteers. It is usually financed by state and district funds and through donations. In the first systematic count of homeless people in Berlin in January 2020, around 2000 homeless people were recorded. However, not all of those affected by homelessness could be counted. Previous rough estimates assumed a homeless population of about 6000 to 10,000 people in Berlin.

Source: dpa

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