On Homelessness Day, 10 October 2022, the Kralji ulice association and the City Municipality of Ljubljana unveiled a commemorative plaque to the homeless Anton Puglje – Tonček, who died in 2020.
In Slovenia, there is still no definition of homelessness, and the number of homeless people is rising steeply. The president of Kralji Street Association, Hana Košan, thinks that the definition of homelessness should be based on the ethos that makes homeless people those without a roof over their heads, those without housing or home and those who live in unfinished but unsuitable conditions.
She stressed that the levels of poverty, social exclusion and oppression are deepening, the number of homeless people is increasing steeply, so it is high time for the state to adopt a strategy in the field of homelessness, to focus on building shelters and accessible public housing. “Homelessness cannot be a question of social or health policy only, but also of housing policy,” she said. Košan warned that everyone first needs a roof over their head, so that they can arrange their lives easily.
Ljubljana Deputy Mayor Dejan Crnek, on behalf of Mayor Zoran Janković, thanked the Kralji ulice for the initiative to put up the memorial plaque. He added that the municipality is aware of the problems pointed out by the president of the society, and that they perceive the homeless as their citizens, “for whom we must take care of as much as we can.”
He announced that the construction of a new center for the homeless on Poljanska cesta will begin at the end of next summer. It will have space for those who deal with homelessness on a daily basis, and for those who would need space for long-term progress. According to Crneko’s speeches, the municipality is aware that the capital is a place for the homeless, where they can easily earn a little more for their living, and it will remain so. At the same time, he wishes that the municipality’s cooperation with the homeless would continue to be fruitful, and the municipality will expand the resources it allocates to this issue.
Kralji ulice magazine received the award for the best street magazine cover, awarded by the International Network of Street Papers in Milan.
This year’s title was awarded to Samira Kentrić‘s cover by the public’s choice.
The magazine is published monthly in approximately 15.000 copies. It is sold in Ljubljana, Maribor, Primorje and occasionally elsewhere in Slovenia.
Homeless Help and Self-Help Association Kralji ulice is an independent non-governmental humanitarian organization founded in September 2005. It brings together experts and others who deal with homelessness and related phenomena and individuals who experience homelessness and related social exclusion.
The magazine is published as a road or street magazine. It discuss the topics of homelessness, living on the street and social exclusion.
Drop-in centres in Slovenia have been closed by the decision of the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic.
In Ljubljana, the Association for Harm Reduction Stigma continues to distribute sterile injecting equipment. The mobile outreach service (a van) continues to operate in the central part of Slovenia.
Injecting drug users have access to sterile injecting equipment but security measures are introduced: clients and staff have to keep 1.5 m distance from each other. All other information and counselling are available via telephone or online.
Drug testing, performed by Association Drogart, is open, but in smaller scale as before and with more safety measures.
OST is working, users get their take home medicine for a week, some even for two or three weeks. OST delivery was organised in a very good way since the first indications that the epidemic can hit Europe appeared.
One of the problems is closure of public transportation, which means that some persons cannot reach the OST clinics. For some of them, Association for harm reduction Stigma can deliver their methadone.
The greatest challenge is to support homeless people because they have nowhere to go (all daily care programs are closed, as well as public toilettes, due to safety reasons). There are negotiations with local authorities and ministries on how to deal with this situation.
Night shelters and safe houses for women are still open. However, it is very problematic because staff and clients have no safety masks. The use of disinfectants is mandatory.
The shelter in Ljubljana, run by the organisation Krali ulice, received new furniture. A special shelter for homeless people who may be infected with coronavirus is ready if this happens.