There are just 587 persons of no fixed abode in Belarus according to official statistics.
The major part of them live in Minsk and Vitsebsk. Are there really not so many homeless citizens in Belarus, Belsat TV channel asks?
According to the results of the latest population census, out of 9.5 mln of Belarusian dwellers, only 587 are considered homeless, 512 live in towns and 75 in rural areas.
203 homeless persons live in Minsk, 160 in Vitsebsk, 52 in Homel, 43 in Brest, 31 in Minsk region, 15 in Mahilyou and 8 in Hrodna.
A street person Mikalai have been living in Homel for 10 years. He begs for money from passers-by near the railway station. At 6 a.m. he had collected almost Br 10,000 for bread. “Are you saying there are 5o homeless in Homel? Well, as there is half a million population in Homel, there are about 700 homeless there,” Mikalai said refuting the statistics data.
Homeless shelters for such citizens could be found in Hrodna and Minsk. There are 92 places in Minsk, however the real number of clients is much higher. The director of the shelter informed that they do not keep a record of the homeless, and refused to continue conversation. At the same time, mass media publish yearly accounts about how many people had visited this institution. Approximately 255 Minsk homeless persons find there a shelter per year. It is by 50 persons more than the Belarusian Statistics Committee reports.
According to a political analyst Andrey Yahorau, it is hard to count the homeless not only because it is hard to contact them, but because the state is not interested to know these figures. “It is necessary to keep record, as it is a socially dangerous group of population: they can be a source of crime, and crimes are committed against them. We do not receive clear picture through census of population. Public associations or social services are to spot such people and care for them. However, we do not have a clear social policy aimed at re-integration of such people. The existing policy is carried out to conceal this phenomenon,” Yahorau said.
According to the political analyst, a greater number of the homeless could be seen in Western countries tan in Belarus. But one should not believe one’s eyes: they are forced out of the streets in Belarus and made hide in corners and slums.