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Emergency shelters in light of the coronavirus crisis: opening of the Frank-Thomas site

As part of the ORCOC plan (municipal authority for the coordination and management of the municipal services’ means of intervention and assistance in exceptional situations), the Administrative Council has decided to assume responsibility for coordinating and managing all the social emergency mechanisms. The aim of this is to provide homeless people with better protection against the coronavirus pandemic. As an immediate solution, the people housed in the Richemont and Châtelaine Civil Defence shelters have been transferred to the Frank-Thomas Emergency shelter, which has 130 places. The social clubs, sleep-ins and other shelters have also been reorganised to cope with the pandemic. 

personnes portant masques se tenant debout

The homeless represent a group of people that are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. All the mechanisms are being reorganised thanks to the unfailing commitment of the Social Service, with the effective support of the Fire and Rescue Service and the Civil Defence, in order to improve the reception, accommodation, meal distribution and accompaniment from which these people benefit. The staff of other services will also be called on by the Administrative Council within the framework of this priority mission. Furthermore, the City has called on the assistance of pandemic management specialists.

The people previously housed in the Richemont Civil Defence shelter – and in particular people with underlying health issues – have been transferred to the former residences of the Hospice Général on the Frank-Thomas site. This transfer marks an important milestone and a noticeable improvement in the redeployment of social emergency mechanisms. 

The Vollandes shelter remains operational with 50 beds available, while half the beneficiaries have already been moved to the Varembé Civil Defence shelter, which also has 50 places. 

Reorganisation of the social club

The Rive Droite social club is currently closed, as is the Civil Defence shelters admissions bureau. In the current situation, any new adult is invited to go directly to the Civil Defence Vollandes shelter. Take-away breakfasts and lunches are distributed at the Rive Gauche social club. Furthermore, the Espace parents-enfants is closed.

Redeployment of the sleep-ins

As part of the support provided by the City to its associative partners, people making use of the sleep-ins have been redirected to the Geisendorf and Trembley 1 and 2 school sports halls. A dozen people housed at Quai 9 have also been transferred to the Geisendorf sports hall, which has a capacity of 36 places. The Salvation Army night shelter has also moved 19 people to the Geisendorf sports hall. 

The la Servette and Montbrillant sleep-ins have transferred the people calling on their services to the Trembley 2 sports hall, which has 37 places. The Roseraie 58 sleep-in, intended solely for women, has been closed. Its 18 occupants have been redirected to the Trembley I sports hall.

These different transfers have been overseen by the Social Service with the support of the duty officers of the Civil Defence, the Municipal Police and the partner association.

Opening of the Caserne des Vernets

Thanks to the effective intervention of the Fire and Rescue Service, the City of Geneva has succeeded in ensuring that the former Caserne des Vernets has quickly been made available, offering a potential capacity of 400 places. This site makes it possible to organise separate areas according to the services required and the people to be housed, and will gradually take over responsibility for all the people currently housed in less suitable environments. The Caserne des Vernets will remain open throughout the health Crisis.

The City supports the network of associations

In collaboration with the Geneva teaching hospitals (HUG), the City has organised a training course for associative partners with a view to improving the care provided for homeless people within the framework of the associations’ own missions. Furthermore, a protocol has been formalised and distributed to both staff and beneficiaries concerning the health measures to be taken. 

Centralised management

The Administrative Council has decided to assume responsibility for coordinating and managing all the social emergency mechanisms in order to further improve the care provided for people under the ORCOC plan.

Emergency toll-free number

On Monday 23 March, the City activated a toll-free number intended for people living in a precarious situation. Citizens wishing to show support for homeless people can also call this number to obtain useful contact details or tangible measures to be taken.

This toll-free emergency number is: 0800 44 77 00.
Monday to friday -  8:30-12:00 and 13:30-17:00


Manuelle Pasquali de Weck

Adjointe de direction en charge de la communication

Tél. +41 22 418 49 13


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Article modifié le 18.05.2020 à 13:52