Working with the state

In 33 year of its operation, Nochlezhka has done a lot to stop the discrimination of homeless people in Russia and to help them exercise their rights on an equal basis with others


Взаимодействие с государством

About the Interaction with the state

Why we do it

Working with the homeless every day, we see what gets in the way of quickly and efficiently helping each person. Through summarising our practice and analysing the gaps in the legislation, we understand whether the problems we face are systemic or occasional. If the problem is systemic, we can propose a solution at the regional or federal level. We want the principles of accessible and person-centred assistance to be applied throughout the country. It is impor- tant to stop people at risk from becoming homeless and help homeless people return to normal lives.

How it works

We work on legislative initiatives, communicate with federal departments, regional and municipal administrations. We act as experts on homelessness and promote our position at round tables, meetings and forums. Since 1992, we have been issuing certificates stating that Nochlezhka considers a person to be homeless: it is a document with a photograph, a seal and a social worker’s signature. We have given out over 70,000 such certificates over the years. This makes life easier for people who have no other papers. In 1997, on Nochlezhka’s initiative, the city launched a programme for helping the homeless. Before that, assistance to homeless people in St. Petersburg was not regulated by law. As a result of our efforts since 2010 all people in St. Peters- burg who have no registration have been able to obtain a mandatory medical insurance. Thanks to this, in ten years, over 40,000 people have received mandatory medical insu- rance, which means they have access to free medical care. In 2012, Nochlezhka succeeded in ensuring that people staying in state-run night shelters get temporary registra- tion at these shelters. Last year we hired a GR-specialist — a person who com- municates with officials in their language, interacts with them on the regional and federal levels, working to make sure that the problem of homelessness is solved at the state level.

What was important in the Working with the state project in 2021

  • We interacted with the state a lot to push for some changes which would improve the system of assistance to the homeless. After negotiating with the Department of Labour and Social Security of Moscow and the Department of Public Health of Moscow we started vaccinating homeless people at Nochlezhka. We hope to continue to provide an opportunity to get vaccinated on a permanent basis for those who want to.

  • We participated at a meeting at the Council of the Russian Government on the issues of care in social welfare. As a result of this meeting the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Health and the Home Ministry were given instructions related to resolving the problem of homelessness.

  • We managed to get a positive decision from the Statutory Court, which confirmed the right of homeless people to social benefits from a city even if they aren’t registered in this city. This is a precedent which is going to help thousands of people in need to receive their pension and free medications.

  • Nochlezhka’s lawyers developed a roadmap of assistance to the homeless. This set of measures designed to help people who have no home and to prevent homelessness for 2020–2025 was adopted by the government of St. Petersburg. The roadmap will help design mechanisms of getting access to social services, receiving medical care, assistance in employment and getting housing.
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