FRIENDS of the Street Association have been working hard to hand out thermal sleeping bags to the homeless people of Valencia to combat the low temperatures on the street.
The association goes out every night looking for homeless people and have up to eight different routes through the city of València, identifying the areas where those who unable to find shelter, who live night and day in the open air.
Friends of the Street Association has 120 members of staff and more than 200 volunteers that focus on the homeless, according to the president of Amigos de la Calle, Jaime González, who explained: “Those who have been on the street for a short time usually accept shelters. This is the case, for example, of young migrants who leave the juvenile centres with nothing and are completely unprotected when they turn 18-years-old.
“Then there is another profile of homeless people who find it difficult to get off the street, although it is impossible to accept that they like living in those conditions,” he continued.
“During the day it is also very cold and in the end, the shelters are a resource, limited to a few hours that do not quite work, although they are very necessary,” Jaime González said.
The group have also purchased 1,200 bags of instant dry heat: “They are bags that shake and emit heat for six hours. Users put it inside the bag and receive some heat. At the moment it is something experimental. We do not stop trying different things to try to help someone who has nothing and who, on top of that, feels guilty about their situation.”
“Keep in mind that no matter how much we distribute blankets or warm clothes, if it gets wet there is no solution. Even so, we distribute blankets, coats, sandwiches or hot soup,” he explained.
The association “urgently need more new underwear and comfortable shoes,” and are asking the government for more help and resource: “If they could go to a house or a place that they did not have to leave in the morning, the situation would change,” González concluded.
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