According to the Undersecretary for Family and Community Strengthening of the City of Buenos Aires, Maximiliano Corach, the number of homeless people in the city increased by nearly 20 percent from April 2016 to the same time this year. Today there are 1066 people without homes currently enduring the cold wave that hit the City — nights that plunge to 1 degree Celsius and don’t exceed 9 degrees during the day. Here’s what the community is doing to help and how you can pitch in.
With the City government-organized “Buenos Aires Presente” (BAP), more than 700 workers and professionals tour the city to help people in street situations, using resources provided by the Ministry of Human Development and Habitat. They respond to calls through Line 108, a telephone service available every day, 24/7 for those in need. You can help out by referring someone who could benefit.
In Corach’s words, BAP workers offer people without homes a place to stay at a hostel. “If you do not accept, you are given a blanket, a hot food dish, and a cold kit comprising a cap, scarf, gloves, socks, and a dry meal, which is caloric,” said Corach.
He added, “We now set up our base in Rivadavia Park (located in Caballito) where there is a tent kitchen, a heated gazebo, another one from the Red Cross, one from Emergency Services, and there the whole operative is armed.” On top of this, BAP provides inns for families to stay.
Various other groups fight against both immediate challenges presented to the homeless: hunger, cold, exposure — and long-term obstacles: the lack of documentation, skills, and housing needed to obtain work. All of them, by the way, could use both manpower and donations.
One organization, Fundación SI, under the larger group Red Solidaria seeks to provide emotional support for people without homes in addition to warm food and shelter. This group tours every night to distribute resources to those in need, and hundreds of community members take this opportunity to form personal bonds with others with the aim of creating a more welcoming and interactive environment. You can easily join one of these tours by contacting them.
If you are a professional, Lumen Color might be right for you. This organization for comprehensive care calls for social workers, lawyers, psychiatrists, and even advanced students to assist in the area they specialize in. This group works by identifying at-risk people, registering and diagnosing their needs, and treating them accordingly — an effective way for professionals to help out the community within the field they know best. You can contact them here.