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Homeless in Israel not receiving sufficient help, report says

'There is a lack of holistic understanding of all the resources needed,' MK Yasmin Sacks Friedman says.

Source: i24 News

The number of Israelis living on the streets increased in recent years, with many not getting the necessary help from the state, a new report by the Israeli parliament (Knesset) revealed.

"Treatment of homeless people is done in several different ways, both through government ministries and through local authorities, but like we see in other phenomena, here too there is a lack of holistic understanding of all the resources needed [to prevent people from winding up on the street] and rehabilitation," MK Yasmin Sacks Friedman (Yesh Atid), who commissioned the report, said, Ynet reported.

According to the report, many homeless people in Israel are dealing with mental issues, drug abuse, and chronic diseases that are often ignored by professionals, making them feel neglected by society and preventing them from seeking help.

Additionally, there is a gap between the Welfare Ministry’s data on the homeless population in Israel and that of local authorities, Ynet reported.

Data from the ministry showed that around 2,000 homeless people received assistance in 2019, with the number rising to 2,250 in 2020. Of them, 86 percent were men, and 67 percent were aged between 26-55 years.

However, data collected by the Welfare Ministry from 89 departments for social service, indicated that some 3,470 homeless people received treatment in 2020. 

Also, around 800 of those living on the streets are not receiving any treatment, with 345 of them either not interested in it or not motivated to receive help, Ynet reported. 

The report also stated that the housing opportunities for the increasing homeless population are not sufficient as the country’s homeless shelters can only house around a third of its street dwellers.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Israel faced an increase of people living in poverty, with approximately three in 10 Israelis (29.3 percent) falling into that category.