Armenia: Homeless Amid the Pandemic
It’s hard to protect yourself from the virus without proper facilities.
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.