THE Majorcan Institute for Social Affairs (IMAS) set its Winter Emergency Plan in action this week, a campaign which aims to help those living on the edges of society by providing basic food and shelter during the coldest time of year.

Sources at IMAS said yesterday that during the last cold snap running between 26 November and 4 December, 64 people made use of the canteen and 20 blankets were handed out.

One of the measures put in place this year has been to extend the hours when the Mobile Help Units managed by the Red Cross are open to the cold and hungry. The staff who man the unit provide a service to all people who are “out on the street” at night in such a way that contact is kept so that those sleeping rough have the option of shelter if they want or need it. The Help the Homeless campaign provides essential needs for people who cannot help themselves, in terms of food and warm bed clothing, the provision of basic health requirements such as clean syringes and condoms, and finally, psychosocial counselling. The IMAS centres are currently on “special alert” and are prepared to be more flexible in terms of accommodating the needy over longer periods of time. A watch is being kept on those who are sleeping out on the streets and who don't call for help. In these instances, specially trained staff go to visit them.


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