Reykjavík’s four emergency shelters will stay open all day December 3-7, due to the forecasted cold spell. The Iceland Red Cross’s on-wheels harm reduction team Frú Ragnheiður will be checking up on their protegés, making sure they have a place to stay at night and have warm clothing.
The Reykjavík Welfare Committee activated their contingency plan for people battling homelessness due to the forecasted cold spell. Under normal circumstances, shelters are only open from 5 pm until 10 am the next day. If people spend long hours outdoors in this cold, there’s a risk of hypothermia and accidents.
The four shelters collectively have room for 63 individuals. All shelters will focus on creating a cosy atmosphere indoors so that as many as possible will stay there instead of going out into the cold.
Reykjavík Response and Counselling team, which aids people battling homelessness, substance and mental health issues, is working with Frú Ragnheiður to get information to users who might be in unsafe situations and might need to use the emergency shelters. The city’s also working closely with the National Hospital’s emergency rooms, the capital area police force, the Red Cross and campsite operators.
Frú Ragnheiður is the Red Cross’s on-wheels harm reduction team, helping people battling substance use issues in a specially equipped medical reception vehicle. They posted a request on social media asking for warm clothing for the people they help, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. They received all the donations of warm clothes and down coats they need, and will not be requiring more as they don’t have space to store the clothes that aren’t in use. If people want to support their work, the Red Cross accept monetary donations. During this cold snap, the Frú Ragnheiður team will be checking up on the people they meet, making sure everyone has a place to stay.