Helping the Homeless in the Winter: What You Can Do

For most of us, winter means holidays, family gatherings, and gift-giving.

But for people experiencing homelessness, winter is a brutal challenge. The cold weather makes life on the street even more dangerous than usual, and the societal focus on togetherness and holiday cheer can create a sense of even greater isolation.

If you would like to know how to help the homeless during winter, here’s an idea for making a great impact.

Nocleženka is a voucher in the value of CZK 100, which enables one homeless person to spend a night in the warmth of a Salvation Army hostel. However, it includes not only overnight accommodation but also other assistance.

The main, long-term goal of the entire project is to return people to ordinary life and to get them to a point where they no longer need Nocleženka and are fully self-sufficient.

The Salvation Army runs a winter dormitory from December to May, as homeless people are at risk of freezing to death.

“By buying a Kč 100 coupon, you will support a specific homeless person who will be able to spend the night in warmth in the dormitory of the Salvation Army in Prague, Brno, Ostrava or Karlovy Vary. However, it is not just about overnight stays, a homeless person is also provided with soup, bread, and a warm drink, and they have the opportunity to take a shower and attend to personal hygiene. Warm clothing and shoes are also available here,” the Salvation Army website says.

The basic price is CZK 100. However, if you decide to contribute a larger amount, we will be very grateful and we will use all of the money for the direct care of homeless people.

Homeless people normally pay a symbolic fee of Kč 30 to Kč 45 crowns for one night in a Salvation Army dormitory. But this does not cover the actual costs, which are between Kč 100 and Kč 200 per person.

People who contribute for a homeless person’s night’s lodging will receive an e-mail from the Salvation Army telling them which specific person benefited from the donation.

People who can’t contribute financially can help the homeless by donating warm clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, winter boots, caps, scarves and gloves to a Salvation Army branch or other charitable organization.

The Salvation Army was once active in Czechoslovakia before the Second World War but was banned when Nazi Germany occupied the country in 1939. Since it resumed its activities twenty-nine years ago, it has set up offices in nine Czech towns and cities.

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