Civil Protection

Former hospital Joaquim Urbano will be open to shelter the homeless

  • Article



Miguel Nogueira

Portugal's temperatures have taken a nose-dive, and severe weather is forecast. Civil Protection advises people to gear up for the low temperatures.

Porto City Hall has activated a Cold Emergency Plan to deal with the very cold spell in the coming days.

Porto City Hall has prepared additional monitoring of homelessness, from January 17 until January 22, providing transportation to former Hospital Joaquim Urbano, which will be open to host those who wish to shelter there. 

Blankets and hot drinks will be distributed to those who do not wish to shelter or remain in the facilities. Furthermore, anyone can go directly to this area and be immediately welcomed.

The space will be open from 8:00 pm to 9:00 am. Individual beds for men and women will be provided, as well as access to toilet facilities, a hygiene kit will be handed out and breakfast will be served.

As part of a wider prevention and assessment strategy concerning homelessness in the city of Porto, there are joint field teams consisting of Fire Brigade, Municipal Police, Civil Protection and Social Development Department that monitor and assess the needs of individuals without permanent housing who may live on the streets, stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation.

The Municipality in collaboration with Metro do Porto have agreed to keep Bolhão station premises open 24 hours a day from January 18 to 23 to welcome those who wish to seek shelter there.

The health Unit Joaquim Urbano Hospital, which was shut down in 2016, will be tapped by Porto City Hall as frontline support service relief to homelessness.

Last summer, the municipality has announced a plan to tackle homelessness in a more sustained way. Thus, the aim is to address extremely serious form of exclusion, the multiple disadvantages facing Porto people and their vulnerability to social exclusion. The main purpose is to promote the social inclusion of homeless people.

The Municipality activates the Cold Emergency Plan when the temperature and wind chill drop to 1° C (33° F).

During Summer time, the Municipality activates the Heat Emergency Plan when the temperature is between 32° C and  36° C (90° F and 97° F), for a period of more than two consecutive days.

Under a "Cold Emergency Alert" or a "Heat Emergency Alert", additional services and support are provided by the municipality of Porto to protect its inhabitants from life-threatening illness and injury associated with severe cold or hot weather.