Dogs are now welcome in some Prague homeless shelters during the winter

Services for Prague's homeless now include space for dogs at shelters and improved medical care

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 29.11.2019 15:00:44 (updated on 29.11.2019) Reading time: 3 minutes

Newly this year, dogs will be welcome at Prague’s homeless shelters. Previously, dogs were not allowed and this caused many homeless people with canine companions to refuse shelter. More help is also available for homeless people with health problems.

To get help to homeless people during cold weather, Municipal Police officers take part in winter measures, which run from December 1 to the end of March.

“This winter we will provide warm nights to homeless people together with their four-legged friends! Beds and pens for dogs will be newly prepared in selected dormitories. For some homeless people a dog companion is often perceived as a member of the family, and they cannot separate from it. But dogs were not allowed to the dormitory before, and because of this, their owners were forbidden to enter. But as we have promised, we have changed this situation in order to protect even those needy from dangerous frosts,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) said on Facebook.

The initiative was put forward by City Councilor Milena Johnová (Praha sobě), responsible for social issues.

“Homeless people who wanted to stay with their dogs have long been excluded from the aid system and were very seriously threatened by night frosts. Therefore, from this year, dormitories will be available in selected areas and winter pens will be available outside. The Municipal Police officers remain on alert every night, identifying places where homeless people can stay outside and offering them a pick-up team of social workers. It is very important that ordinary Praguers can also call for help, so we will distribute simple instructions,” Johnová said.

Space is sufficient in Prague dormitories and in the event of extreme frosts, other places have been selected where temporary tents with additional beds can be built. This year, it will also be easier for people with medical complications to get help, since accommodation in a nursing home with nursing care or a specialized dormitory is newly provided.

November 30, 2018: A homeless man with a dog pictured begging on Prague's Charles Bridge
A man with a dog begging on Prague’s Charles Bridge

“On cold days, police officers actively offer homeless people information about where day centers and dorms are located. They are also increasingly supervising public order around day centers and dormitories, and are in contact with the operators of these facilities in the event of any extraordinary event,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček (United Force for Prague) said.

According to the Labor and Social Affairs Research Institute, about 3,250 homeless people live in Prague. In the whole Czech Republic, their number is estimated at more than 23,800.

The city has offered these tips for helping the homeless:

If Prague residents notice a homeless person who might be in danger of freezing, they can call the Municipal Police at 156. Officers are trained for such situations, arrive at the place and offer help to the needy person. If they show interest, police officers inform the Prague social services center, which communicates with other teams and arranges transportation to one of the winter dormitories with available capacity.

Give clothes. You can bring underwear, shoes, coats and other clothes to one of the branches of organizations that provide services to homeless people — Social Services Center Prague (Centrum sociálních služeb Praha), Hope (Naděje), Salvation Army (Armády spásy), Archdiocesan Charity Prague (Arcidiecézní charita Praha) and others.

Donate financially. You can also help any homeless people with any amount of money paid to an organization.

Get involved as volunteers. You can contact the Czech Red Cross Prague 1 (Český červený kříž Praha 1) or another organization you would like to help with.

Find out more. For details on winter arrangements for homeless people, please contact the headquarters of Social Services Center Prague .

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