Most homeless people in Serbia live in Belgrade, and many of them have become homeless because of divorce, eviction from their houses for unpaid mortgage, migration, sickness, domestic violence, and aging, with quite a few of them addicted to alcohol, drugs or gambling.
The shelter for homeless adults in Kumodraska Street in Belgrade is running out of space since at least 15 homeless people a day come knocking at the shelter’s door in search of warm and safe place to stay and a meal. This is the only specialized facility in Serbia that takes in homeless people, and they only have enough room for 104 of them.
Two thirds of people who come to the shelter are male and their ages range from 20-year-olds to 90-year-olds.
According to the last census in Serbia, there are exactly 18,287 without registered residence, and most of them live in Belgrade, mainly in woods, trailers, train cars, basements and slums. 445 homeless people live in the streets, in parks and under bridges.
However, professor Mirjana Bobic, a sociology expert fro from the Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy and the author of the study called “Homeless”, says that the numbers are even higher because the State Statistical Office used indirect information (gathered by social services) to ascertain the number of homeless people in Serbia. Professor Bobic says that the real number of homeless people is much higher.
“The average homeless person is a male, between ages 55 and 59, of poor education, unemployed or hired to work for very low wages, often addicted to alcohol, drugs or gambling. They become homeless for various reasons – some are victims of domestic abuse, are divorced, migrants or sick, while some have been evicted from their homes because they couldn’t pay their mortgage. Homelessness in Serbia has become a metaphor for the downfall of the social welfare state where now banks call the shots and where everyone could become homeless”, Professor Bobic adds.
There are 3.3 million homeless people in the EU at the moment, with most of them living in Germany and France. The Scandinavian countries have the least number of homeless people.
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