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Mayor places focus on homeless shelter

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, December 11
A temporary shelter will be opened for the homeless near the Akhmeteli Theater metro station.

According to the Press Service of the government, the Ministry of Economy has brought the issue to the cabinet session on December 5. However, after the space was allocated, now it is the responsibility of the mayor's office, which must renovate and furnish the building.

According to the Mayor’s office, the money has already been apportioned from the budget for repair work.

“We are working with several international organizations. Before repair work can be completed, a carriage type of shelter will be used to minimize the problems this winter,” Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava said.

Ugulava added that the shelter will be close to international standards, and homeless people will not only stay during the night but also the shelter will provide social and psychological services too.

As the temperature has become frigid in recent days, a petition has been released on social networks. Ctizens have signed the petition, calling on the government to take decisive measures to help the homeless.

Georgian Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili also focused on homeless people in his report released on International Human Rights Day on December 10.

The ombudsman stressed the importance of creating a database for the homeless.

He said a housing fund, for all self-governments should also be established, which would provide residents with shelters.

According to Nanuashvili, more than 7,500 applications were submitted to Tbilisi City Hall about shelters in 2012. “I am not suggesting that 7,500 people are today homeless, but a very large number of them can be classified as homeless. Unfortunately, the budget still has not provided anything to solve the problem,” he said, stressing that the government has to set up a shelter and not only one.

The Ombudsman said his office will also support any initiative that will be designed for solving the problem of homelessness in the country.