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Freezing temperatures forecast: “Extreme Cold” programme goes into operation again

In view of the very low temperatures forecast for the next few days, the City of Geneva is putting its “Extreme Cold” plan into operation again from the evening of 11 February for the second time this winter. Emergency shelter arrangements are being stepped up: an extra 24 places have been made available at the Pâquis-Centre Civil Defence shelter, making a total of 254 places in the shelters organised by the City, and opening hours have been adapted. The Plainpalais community hall, where breakfasts and hot lunches are served to people in need every day, will stay open in the afternoon.

Plan Grand froid

The “Extreme Cold” Plan is implemented thanks to active cooperation between several municipal services: the Fire and Rescue Service, the logistics and events department, the cantonal and municipal police, the emergency telephone service of the Geneva teaching hospital (HUG), the mobile social emergencies unit and many associated partners. The arrangements are coordinated by the Social Service and will remain in place until at least the start of the week commencing 15 February. They will be reviewed in due course.

Admissions are organised at the Club Social Rive Droite and provide access to one of the emergency shelters of the City of Geneva. In the Eaux-Vives district, the Richemont Civil Defence shelter has 50 places for men. The Centre Frank-Thomas (130 places) is open for vulnerable people and women. In the district of Saint-Jean Charmilles, the Châtelaine Civil Defence shelter provides a further 50 places. The “Extreme Cold” Plan means 24 additional places are available at the Pâquis-Centre Civil Defence shelter.

The people housed in these facilities have a bed and are given a warm meal in the evening and breakfast the following morning. They can also take a shower and benefit from a bag-minding service. Professionals in the social sector are on hand to build up relationships and answer questions from the beneficiaries. The people housed at the Centre Frank-Thomas have access to healthcare thanks to a partnership with the units of the Geneva teaching hospital (HUG), which intervene on site.

City and associated facilities are full

The shelters provided by the City are currently full. Those run by associated partners (Salvation Army, the new CAUSE hotel facility, the Caravane Sans Frontière sleep-in and the family services of HUMA) also have no vacancies. However, places are reserved each night for urgent admissions.

The “Extreme Cold” arrangements come into operation when daytime temperatures are at or below zero and remain below zero at night for several days/nights. In addition to these particularly low temperatures, the wind-chill factor and dampness in the air must also be taken into consideration.

For Christina Kitsos, the magistrate responsible for social cohesion and solidarity, “it is essential to act quickly and effectively to provide emergency shelters for all people who are homeless. The study we have launched with the University of Geneva will give us a better understanding of how many people are homeless so we are more familiar with their needs and their lives and able to adapt our programmes to assist their reintegration into society.”

In addition to the welcome offered in the shelters operated by the City, beneficiaries can enjoy hot meals in compliance with the current health measures at Plainpalais community hall. 120 breakfasts are distributed free of charge each morning, and 230 lunches are also provided between 11 and 12:30. From 12 February up to and including Monday, the community hall will stay open in the afternoon so people can rest, have a hot drink and shelter from the cold for some of the day.

Reporting a homeless person

Do not hesitate to report a homeless person who may be in difficulty. The Geneva emergency health line set up during the recent pandemic on 022 427 88 00 is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Useful information

In collaboration with its associated partners, the Social Service has reissued the brochure on emergency shelters in Geneva, updated for winter 2020-2021. Produced in response to a social emergency that has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, this guide is widely distributed by all partners and can be downloaded at the foot of this page along with the flyer “Extreme Cold Emergency Shelters”.


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Article modifié le 12.02.2021 à 15:59