Homeless in Russia: Who Are They and Will They Freeze to Death?

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Being homeless in any situation is tough.  However; in Russia it might be a completely different challenge.  The annual report of Russia’s largest homeless organization said the following:

“There is no truly accessible and efficient system of state assistance for those who have become homeless in Russia.  We know that no one is insured against the street and believe that one simply cannot turn a bling eye to people in need.”

Easy Fall Hard Recovery:

Indeed this organization helps stop people from freezing to death and starving to death on the streets of St. Petersburg.  They provide advocacy and kindness in a city that can often be cold physically and in spirt to those who are lacking resources.  As the annual report states, “The thing is that it is extremely easy to end up on the street but getting back to a stable life without professional help is practically impossible.”

Who Are Homeless in Russia?

Russian citizens need to have residence registration.  Without this document they cannot do much of anything.  That means they cannot work, they cannot receive health insurance, they get no social benefits or pensions or the right to vote.  Russian people do not get rights, instead the rights are attached to their residence.  Nochlezhka has tried to advocate at the highest level for this outdated and model to be amended.  They have had no luck with the Russian government and it stay the same.  There are zero rights without registration and that is all there is to it now.

Not only is the registration important but it also depends on where you live.  If you were registered in a different part of Russia and ended up in St. Petersburg, you are basically screwed.  If your papers state you do not live in the city you are in, you get nothing.  Even if you have some type of paperwork, there is almost zero system in place to help homeless persons in Russia.

People spend around 7 years per year on the street in Russia which is much higher then the average length of homelessness in European countries.  The sad truth is that most homeless simply die on the street.

Why Homeless:

The reason people are homeless are numerous in Russia.  The numbers below come directly from Nochlezhka’s annual report:

  1. Labor Migration-33.6% : People move to a larger city hoping to find a job and make some money and support their families. What happens often is they lose their job because of illness or automation or some type of dishonesty by their employer.  Without money, these people end up on the street.  Within the first days on the street, many people are beaten up badly and have their documents stolen and or destroyed.   At this point, they are basically helpless.  The police and state will not assist.
  2. Family Issues-3%: Due to family conflicts or claims for property, people are evicted and end up on the street.
  3. Fraud/Extortion-5%: This usually happens to lonely people, the elderly those brought up in orphanages and people with mental issues.
  4. Prison Sentence-5%: Very often relatives of those in jail are evicted by family and friends. Or sometimes the place they lived is found un-inhabitable and knocked down or something of that nature.  They get out and find they have no place to go.
  5. Flat or House Burned Down-8%
  6. Other Reason-4.8%: People raised in orphanages wo were never provided housing they needed, eviction from housing provided by involuntary resettlement or property collected for debts or even conflict with neighbors.
  7. Personal Choice-5%: Mental issues or domestic violence

The average age of homeless in St. Petersburg is 45.  83% are men while 17% are women.  97% are Russian Citizens.


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