Having a roof over your head during the cold winter days and feeling safe should not be something one must prove to be worthy of. Everyone deserves to have a home, and everyone has the right to feel secure.
Despite this, the UN-Habitat has found that a shocking 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing conditions. What is worse, homelessness is becoming more and more prevalent as time goes on.
Understanding how grave this is, cities and governments all over the globe are working on finding ways to help those who do not have access to housing. However, only a handful of them are succeeding in bringing about meaningful change.
Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, Prague has increased its efforts to help homeless individuals. Last year, it built an integrated system of emergency housing solutions using EU funds.
With this system, citizens who found themselves at risk of – or already in – a housing emergency could access support at one of the Contact Points for Housing in the city’s districts. There, depending on one’s situation, they could either obtain counselling, legal aid, or temporary housing.
Also in 2020, Prague unveiled a crisis accommodation program, providing homeless citizens with housing to ensure their safety and prevent the spread of COVID.
Expanding on this, the city’s support went beyond providing accommodation as it also sought to ensure that those who received housing could then enter the labour force and secure their own homes. Following this action, the capital further unveiled the creation of a network of smaller facilities where individuals could gain access to food, water, shelter, etc.
In the summer of 2021, the Czech capital collaborated with the Salvation Army to vaccinate homeless citizens with a single-dose Johnson & Johnson jab.
By administering single-dose COVID vaccines, Prague guaranteed that its homeless population was safe and fully vaccinated despite their inability to access the healthcare services they deserve.
Councillor Milena Johnová discussed the capital’s efforts earlier this year, noting that its long-term goal is to eradicate homelessness and to ensure a sufficient supply of stable, dignified, and affordable housing.