Homeless Persons Day in Russia Date in the current year: March 30, 2024

Homeless Persons Day in Russia Homeless Persons Day in Russia is an annual awareness campaign designed to raise awareness of the challenges that homeless people face every day. Originally held on the last Monday of March, it has had a fixed date – March 30 – since 2021.

Homelessness is lacking stable and appropriate housing. It is a global problem resulting from a number of factors, including poverty, unemployment, shortages of affordable housing, rapid urbanization and gentrification, investment speculation in housing, domestic violence, forced eviction, migration, natural disasters, social exclusion, and more. As of 2005, an estimated 100 million people worldwide were homeless and about one billion people lacked adequate housing and lived as squatters, refugees or in temporary shelters.

The problem is aggravated by stigmatization of homeless people. Not all homeless people are addicts, as many people think (and even if they are, they need help and not judgment). Very few people actually choose to be homeless; most have been kicked out or lost their homes. Among them are teenagers who were disowned by their parents, women who have escaped from abusive partners, people who’ve lost their jobs and have no money to pay rent, real estate fraud victims, tenants who have been evicted due to foreclosures on landlords or by government orders, people afflicted with a disability or mental disorder, etc.

In Russia, the number of homeless people increased dramatically after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. As of the late 2010s, the number of homeless people in Russia was estimated at between 1.5 and 3 million people. Most homeless people live in large cities with a population of over one million, but most of them have moved there from smaller cities and towns. The three most common of causes of homelessness in Russia are family conflicts, the inability to find housing in the city where a person has moved in search of work, and real estate fraud.

About 85% of homeless people in Russia are men, and their average age is about 45 years. The most vulnerable groups at risk of homelessness are former prisoners, migrants, orphans, street children, neglected children, and people who do not own an apartment or house.

The inaugural Homeless Persons Day in Russia took place on March 27, 2017. It was co-organized by several charitable foundations that focus on social rehabilitation of homeless people, and supported by major media outlets. The number of supporting organizations has been growing ever since. For example, in 2018, quite a few St. Petersburg hotels donated the cost of a one-night stay to a homeless shelter.

The key organizer of Homeless Persons Day in Russia is Nochlezhka, the country’s oldest charity providing assistance to homeless people. Its projects include homeless shelters, a legal and social counseling service, night buses that give out free hot meals and clean clothes, a heating center operating during the cold months, a halfway home, free showers and laundry rooms, handout points giving out free clothes, shoes and toiletries, and more.

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