By Humphrey Carter

AN estimated 70 people will be spending Christmas sleeping rough on the streets of Palma, the head of the Majorcan Institute for Social Services (IMAS), Sebastia Cerdá, revealed yesterday.

Cerdà explained that while it is difficult to put an exact figure on the number of homeless people in Palma, it is thought to be between 60 and 70 and many of them refuse accommodation offered by the various refuges and shelters.

The IMAS boss said that winter is obviously the toughest time of the year for the homeless and that it is increasingly difficult for the social services and non-government organsiations to help those who do not attend the shelters because they do not know where they are.

IMAS can accommodate and feed up to 363 people in their Palma shelters but, add to that those provided by Palma City Council and other private shelters, then the total number of beds available to the homeless is 560.

Cerdà added that some of the homeless have problems with drug and alcohol addiction and also reject the help IMAS offers.

This winter, all of the organisations which help the homeless or poor are finding it hard. The food kitchens and food outlets have experienced a sharp drop in donations of food because of the recession and are continually appealing for extra aid from volunteers, especially now that winter is upon us and an increasing number of families, some with all members out of work, are finding it impossible to make it to the end of the month.


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