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Shelters What is done to keep Geneva homeless warm in freezing weather

Geneva is better known as being a sophisticated, wealthy city, but in its doorways and underpasses sleep homeless people, even when temperatures are sub-zero. Just a short distance from top hotels where rich people are living it up, poor people sleep in grubby sleeping bags, not knowing where their next meals are coming from. 

But help is at hand. Two civil protection shelters, built as nuclear bunkers, are opened in winter for homeless people, providing 200 places. For a few nights at least, they have a roof over their heads, a bed and some warmth. 

Open from mid-November to the end of March, these Cold War relics were intended to house the people of Geneva in the case of a nuclear strike. Today they serve as dormitories. Doors open at 7.15pm, the guests eat soup, take a shower, talk for a while and then go to bed. And in the morning, after breakfast, everyone has to leave at 8.15am. 

Not everyone in these shelters find their own way there. The city sends social workers out on patrol to find people who may be in need of help and shelter. Swiss public television, SRF, accompanied one of these patrols. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) 



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