Funds have been secured to keep an emergency shelter open for homeless women throughout the winter, Fréttablaðið reports.
The emergency shelter was opened in April to accommodate homeless women through the COVID-19 epidemic, and was intended to close in September. However, the women who moved into the shelter issued a statement protesting its closure, and it was decided in August to extend operations.
The women who have been staying at the shelter say that they have felt security there that they have not experienced in a very long time, and that living there has vastly improved their lives. One resident told Fréttablaðið: “If this shelter had not been available, I would be dead.”
Although the shelter will be able to remain open until the spring, the funds secured do not stretch beyond that time, and the future of the shelter is uncertain.
Regína Ásvaldsdóttir, the director of the Reykjavík City Welfare Department, has been working alongside the Ministry of Social Affairs to keep the shelter open. She says “we hope to be able to help them as much as possible. Shelters are, of course, available for both men and women, but this refuge provides women with their own room.”
In a statement published by Fréttablaðið, the women in the shelter outlined just how much being at the shelter has helped them, stating how important it is for places like this to exist. “Since I crashed on the street, I’ve just been trying to fix things”, one woman writes. “I never managed to fix anything until after the third week in safe housing. I could talk to the people who live there. Have sincere and wonderful conversations and form relationships.”
The statement concludes: “We are fighting for a policy in the community that serves our sisters, mothers and daughters. Of course, this resource needs to conclude. But not a day before there is no homeless woman left on the street.”
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