No more land for the homeless, says city

Tel Aviv's municipality recently denied a charity group's request to build a heated tentfor street dwellers, saying it already provides enough help.

homeless 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
homeless 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Some 200 homeless people, most of them addicted to drugs or alcohol, are passing the cold winter nights in the streets of Tel Aviv after the city refused to lend land to a local charity, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Tel Aviv. The "Korat Gag" non-profit organization had asked for the land with the aim of putting up a heated tent until the end of winter, but the city refused, saying it does not have a suitable block of land free and in any case a tent would not meet fire and safety requirements. According to the report, dozens of homeless people freeze to death around Israel every winter. The Korat Gag organization tries to help Tel Aviv's homeless population every year, and back in November it wrote to the municipality asking to be allowed to use a 300-square-meter block of land to put up a waterproof, heated tent that would provide shelter for the homeless throughout the winter. The organization said it would supply water, electricity and chemical toilets, and all it needed from the city was a site for the tent. It emphasized that the measure would be temporary and the land would be vacated at the end of winter. The city responded that it already provides "an extensive system of care for the homeless," placing them in existing shelters and making intensified efforts in recent weeks to locate homeless people in the streets and get them into shelters. The report said most of Tel Aviv's 200 known homeless are male immigrants in their 40s or 50s, with about one-third of them addicted to alcohol and a further third addicted to drugs. About one-quarter are mentally ill, according to the report.