Melik Khachatryan, 61, shares a room with Yeghoyan and is waiting for the chance to be vaccinated.
Melik Khachatryan, 61, shares a room with Yeghoyan and is waiting for the chance to be vaccinated. © Armine Avetisyan
Shelter director Shavarsh Khachatryan.
Shelter director Shavarsh Khachatryan. © Armine Avetisyan
Masks are provided free of charge at the shelter.
Masks are provided free of charge at the shelter. © Armine Avetisyan
Residents have to change their clothes and disinfect them every time they enter the shelter.
Residents have to change their clothes and disinfect them every time they enter the shelter. © Armine Avetisyan
Bed linen is ironed at a high temperature to disinfect the material.
Bed linen is ironed at a high temperature to disinfect the material. © Armine Avetisyan
Some residents ask for their soft toys to be washed and disinfected too.
Some residents ask for their soft toys to be washed and disinfected too. © Armine Avetisyan
One room has been set aside for all the extra washing to dry.
One room has been set aside for all the extra washing to dry. © Armine Avetisyan
Resident Nelli Hovhannisyan dries her washing on the windowsill.
Resident Nelli Hovhannisyan dries her washing on the windowsill. © Armine Avetisyan
Nelli Hovhannisyan, 65, says that at her age she is very afraid of catching coronavirus and dying. 
Nelli Hovhannisyan, 65, says that at her age she is very afraid of catching coronavirus and dying.  © Armine Avetisyan
Astghik Najaryan, 65, is disabled and has spent her time at the shelter shut in her room, afraid of contracting Covid-19.
Astghik Najaryan, 65, is disabled and has spent her time at the shelter shut in her room, afraid of contracting Covid-19. © Armine Avetisyan
Wheelchair user Seryozha Arakelyan, 65, jokes that the pandemic has now restricted everyone else’s movement too.
Wheelchair user Seryozha Arakelyan, 65, jokes that the pandemic has now restricted everyone else’s movement too. © Armine Avetisyan
Olga Arukyan, 63, says she is very grateful that the shelter’s facilities allow him to wash his clothes and bathe more often.
Olga Arukyan, 63, says she is very grateful that the shelter’s facilities allow him to wash his clothes and bathe more often. © Armine Avetisyan
Koryun Vardanyan explains that each resident takes it in turn to clean and disinfect shared spaces.
Koryun Vardanyan explains that each resident takes it in turn to clean and disinfect shared spaces. © Armine Avetisyan
Margarita Baghdasaryan, 47, used to be a gardener.
Margarita Baghdasaryan, 47, used to be a gardener. © Armine Avetisyan
Breakfast and supper are provided for free; other meals need to be organised at the residents’ own expense. Karen Dilanyan prefers to cook in his room. 
Breakfast and supper are provided for free; other meals need to be organised at the residents’ own expense. Karen Dilanyan prefers to cook in his room.  © Armine Avetisyan

Armenia: Homeless Amid the Pandemic

It’s hard to protect yourself from the virus without proper facilities.

Tuesday, 30 November, 2021

Homeless people in the Armenia capital of Yerevan have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, lacking adequate access to cleaning and quarantine facilities. Yerevan’s homeless shelter, founded by the Danish Hans Christian Kofoed charity and the only one of its kind in the country, has been trying to support them during the crisis.

“The specialists say wash your hands often or take frequent showers to protect yourself from infection, [but] it’s a problem for a homeless person,” said human rights activist Vahan Tumasyan. “In the case of people living in a special shelter, the issue is alleviated because they are provided with facilities.”

As well as access to bathrooms and areas to do laundry, the residents can change their clothes every time they enter the shelter and use the disinfectant dispensers placed all around the building.

Functioning nearly at its capacity of 100 residents, the people staying there range from 18 to 65 years old and receive psychological support and practical assistance to return to independent living.

“We are sometimes asked why our beneficiaries do not wear masks inside the building,” said Shavarsh Khachatryan, the shelter's director. “The explanation is simple… this is their home, and those who live here are temporarily members of the same family. It's different outside the building.”

This publication was prepared under the "Amplify, Verify, Engage (AVE) Project" implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway.

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