The Lisbon City Council implemented a proactive cold weather plan for the homeless, opening the Casal Vistoso Municipal Pavilion in anticipation of worsening temperatures. Mayor Carlos Moedas activated a contingency plan earlier than usual due to severe cold, even though temperatures hadn’t reached the typical 3°C threshold.
Support teams from various groups like Doctors of the World, the Parish Council, Portuguese Red Cross, Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa, and the Municipal Civil Protection Service were welcomed at the Pavilion, which was equipped with around 100 beds (expandable to 150).
Plans include a seven-year, 70-million-euro initiative to increase homeless housing from 1,050 to nearly 2,000, collaborating with nearby municipalities. Moedas emphasized the urgency not only to address immediate cold weather issues but also to find sustainable solutions.
The holistic approach aims to assist over 3,000 homeless individuals in Lisbon, concentrating on housing through programs like ‘Housing First,’ prioritizing shelter as a primary step, along with essential services.
Additionally, subway stations like Rossio, Santa Apolónia, and Oriente will provide nighttime refuge. The Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere cautioned about forthcoming colder temperatures across different regions.
The objective is to manage immediate cold weather concerns while establishing enduring support structures for the homeless in the long run.