The goal of ending homelessness in Prague has seemed more reachable since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is one of its most crowded cities and a huge tourist destination. In Prague there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor and a system which allows homelessness.
Prague currently has a population of about 1,321,000 people. Of those 1,321,000, 5,000 adults and children are homeless and living under terrible conditions. Common factors contributing to Prague’s homelessness are alcoholism, debt and unemployment.
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, hotels were fighting homelessness in Prague to further prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As cases of coronavirus continue to drop, city officials will continue to extend the program in order to help homeless people. Prague’s city council is continuing to fund the hotels so they can shelter any homeless people through the pandemic and after. The City Council will also be responsible for any damages.
Hotels and Prague’s city council originally intended this program to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. But, according to Adam Zabransky, Councilor for Housing and Transparency, many now see the program as an opportunity for long-term solutions to homelessness. Because of the program, many of the homeless have utilized the social services available to them. While there are many hotels that have continued to provide the homeless with resources and housing due to the program, some hotels may not want to continue during the pandemic for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, there are some who are claiming benefits and government aid to help cover their expenses.
Prague’s government has also utilized an additional resource for the homeless who have contracted the coronavirus. This resource is a rented luxury hotel for those with COVID-19 to be able to self-isolate and recover. The program offers those in the hotel three meals a day, medical care and other resources to assist them.
Outlook Going Forward
Although the Czech Republic was economically healthy before the pandemic, there were still hundreds of homeless people in Prague. But the support from the government during the pandemic has made it easier for the homeless to recover.
While the City Council of Prague put in their part to house the homeless during the pandemic, they can continue to assist the homeless with the same resources after COVID-19. While progress has been made to combat homelessness in Prague, there is still a long way to go.
– Jose Ahumada