There are about 2,000 homeless people in Croatia and half of them live in Zagreb, while about 10,000 persons living in abject poverty are at risk of becoming homeless, civil society organisations warned on Monday.
The organisations set up a stall outside Zagreb’s central train station to mark the World Homeless Day and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and Social Exclusion.
They presented a project co-financed from the European Social Fund as part of which they run a day centre for homeless people in Zagreb. The partners in this project are Pet Plus, Dom Nade, Stijena Resoc, the Croatian Homeless Network, the Fighter association and the Savao charity.
The organisations involved in this project presented their activities and handed out leaflets and a guide for the homeless and those willing to help them. Over the past year, they have organised workshops about writing CVs and job applications, computer and financial literacy courses; about 70 homeless people have taken their courses, several of them have found work and some have emigrated.
Speaking to the press, the head of the Pet Plus association, Mira Davidović, said that by using the Velika Kosnica shelter homeless people forfeit the right to a monthly allowance of HRK 800 (€105), which is why many homeless people choose living on the street rather than staying in the shelter.
Davidović said that the official number of homeless people registered in 14 shelters in Croatia is estimated at between 400 and 500, while the non-governmental organisations put the number of homeless people living on the street at 2,000.
She said that about 10,000 people who live in abject poverty, without adequate accommodation and without electricity and running water, are at risk of becoming homeless. This also includes people who have been released from prison, former drug addicts, victims of domestic violence and mentally ill people.
The head of the Fighter association, Mile Mrvalj, drew attention to the large number of unregistered homeless people without any rights.