The coalition government has placed 2nd Vice President and Minister for Social Affairs Pablo Iglesias in charge of coordinating efforts by the UME Military Emergencies Unit of Spain’s Defense Forces to help the country’s homeless population during the current mandatory coronavirus confinement period nationwide.
As part of its outreach to the homeless, the Defense Ministry special medical unit will be providing the homeless with a special hygiene kit and food rations on a daily basis, as well as medical services that include taking people’s temperature and assessing symptoms of the coronavirus, and generally providing information and orientation to the homeless. The military will also be charged with building any additional homeless shelters that may be needed and amplifying the space available in current shelters.
To coordinate the efforts, Unidas Podemos leader Iglesias has been drafted in by the Defense Ministry and his office will be empowered during the coronavirus crisis to issue “necessary orders and instructions for the protection of the homeless” to the military units involved in the operation.
Under a directive issued by Defense Minister Margarita Robles, one of four ministers in the government cabinet of President Pedro Sanchez designated to coordinate the response to the coronavirus epidemic, Iglesias will be empowered to propose “immediate actions to the Social Services of the entire Country for these purposes” and to “demand from the Armed Forces any collaboratve measures” whenever necessary.
In the nation’s capital Madrid, currently the main focus of contagion in the coronavirus epidemic, there are an estimated 2,772 homeless people living on the city’s streets, according to a report from 2019. On Monday, the Madrid municipal council authorized 150 places to be set aside for homeless indviduals who do not yet show coronavirus symptons at a makeshift shelter in the city’s IFEMA indoor trade-show and fairground facilities.
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