Tel Aviv, IFCJ open new shelter for Israel's homeless

HaGagon's goal is to "provide a home for addicts living on the streets while maintaining a sense of human dignity," the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality said.

 A homeless person sleeps in the street on Jaffa Street in downtown Jerusalem on September 23, 2020, during a nationwide lockdown (photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
A homeless person sleeps in the street on Jaffa Street in downtown Jerusalem on September 23, 2020, during a nationwide lockdown
(photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

HaGagon, a new shelter for Tel Aviv's homeless named in honor of the late Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, was opened this week by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality.

The homeless shelter, established in partnership with non-profit organization Lasova (to satiety) and the Tel Aviv Foundation, was partly funded by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, founded by Eckstein.

"Every single person in Tel Aviv has rights and deserves to be treated and cared for."

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai

Every single person in Tel Aviv has rights and deserves to be treated and cared for, Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai said. "The municipality established the shelter based on this leading value."

Other than providing a respectable place to rest and sleep, the shelter will also provide food, running water for showers, laundry services, a locker for personal belongings and referral for medical treatment when needed.

Huldai said it was "important" to him that the shelter would have "more than just beds...and also offer different areas for unwinding, enrichment, watching television, reading books and having group activities."

 Tel Aviv-Jaffa mayor Ron Huldai at the opening of Ha'Gagon, a new homeless shelter in Tel Aviv (credit: GUY YECHIELY) Tel Aviv-Jaffa mayor Ron Huldai at the opening of Ha'Gagon, a new homeless shelter in Tel Aviv (credit: GUY YECHIELY)

Providing Israel's homeless with a sense of dignity

HaGagon (the shelter) is set to replace a homeless shelter that was demolished by the municipality some three years ago, in order to build an expansive new one.

As part of its design, an emphasis was placed on aspects involving the tenants' privacy in order to "foster faith in their ability to return to everyday life." Its main goal, according to the municipality, is to "provide a home for addicts living on the streets while maintaining a sense of human dignity."

The new shelter is able to house 144 residents simultaneously in 19 different sleeping rooms, some of which are accessible for people with disabilities.