Homeless people: We are not all the same

“Gambling, losing a job, alcohol addiction or an accident. There are a million reasons people end up on the street,” says a shelter employee.

A room at Mea Culpa (Source: N. Francelova)

“Are you a journalist? Yes, we also had a journalist here. Anyone can end up here.” Miroslav Pletka is very direct from the first moment. He is an administrator at Domov pre každého (House for everyone), a refuge for homeless people in Bratislava.

It’s Wednesday, November 9, afternoon and the Justi hall of Bratislava’s Primate's Palace is already full of volunteers, awaiting registration. They will participate in pairs, in a census of homeless people in the capital, trying to map different districts in Bratislava.

We are heading to Mea Culpa, a homeless shelter, with Miroslav Pletka. The drive from the city centre takes more than half an hour – Mea Culpa is located in the outskirts of the city and the usual afternoon traffic jam slows us down.

“You have to be a tough person to work there,” Pletka explains while driving. Adding that sometimes it even requires a licence to carry a gun, which, as an ex-policeman, he has.

What is the life of people in homeless shelters? How does a person end up out in the street? Why do homeless say they are not all the same?

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