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Down and out in Yerevan

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With the winter setting in and temperatures already dropping below freezing, the number of homeless on the streets of Yerevan is once again becoming noticeable. However, the government has yet to tackle the problem in earnest. Indeed, until we published the stories of individuals forced to sleep in underpasses, on construction sites or literally out in the open, they even refused to admit that there were any in Armenia. 

Finally a homeless shelter was opened, but true to form it was situated such a long way out of the city that few could get to it. Buses don't take the homeless even if they had the money, and taxi drivers certainly won't. Back when the shelter was opened, the Minister of Social Security even requested that we as journalists go out to convince the homeless to go there as well as provide transportation because the government "didn't have enough money for petrol." 
This winter dozens of homeless will die on the streets of Yerevan and as international organizations and local NGOs pack up shop for the Christmas and New Year holidays, nobody will lift a finger to help them. Meanwhile, others squatting in abandoned and derelict buildings will also be freezing for another year in succession. 

Photo: Homeless, Northern Avenue Construction Site, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2004 


Photo: Squat, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2004 

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