The network of solidarity restaurants implemented by Porto City Hall currently serves circa 580 meals a day. This number is gradually increasing since the last review in January. This is a sign of the crisis that led to the preparation of 150 thousand hot meals in 2020, by the three solidarity restaurants that are operating in Porto.
The goal is to “replace serving of hot meals in the public space by creating the conditions where everyone undergoing economic and social vulnerabilities can access healthy, balanced, regular and systematic food, in safety and dignity”, affirmed earlier this week councillor for Housing and Social Cohesion, Fernando Paulo, during the Executive Meeting that approved, unanimously the conclusion of a contract with the social charity of Porto SAOM – Serviços de Assistência Organizações de Maria, a renowned charitable organisation in Porto, to make sure a proper functioning of the solidarity restaurants network in Porto.
Solidarity restaurants are open every day of the year, between 8 pm and 10.30 pm, and currently serve circa 580 meals per day on average, which is higher than the number of meals served about three months ago, with circa 525 daily meals on average.
Fernando Paulo believes that the network still has the capacity to extend a little more in terms of meeting their response needs, but the opening of a fourth solidarity restaurant of Porto City Hall, in the Boavista area, which is planned to happen soon, will provide a substantial increase in the number of served meals.
The first of such spaces opened in Praça da Batalha (at Rua de Cimo de Vila), in 2017, with the Municipality renting a space from Hospital do Terço; this is, to this day, the most sought after restaurant of its type, serving approximately 280 meals per day.
In 2019, the network extended until the former Hospital Joaquim Urbano, where the Temporary Shelter works. Here, circa 130 hot meals are served. The solidarity restaurant in Porto Downton, which opened at the end of last year at the Travessa de Passos Manuel, serves 170 daily hot meals.
The contract with SAOM, approved at the last Executive Meeting, establishes that the municipal funding settles at 360 thousand euros for 2021, which is higher than the last year’s investment of 300 thousand euros.
The network of solidarity restaurants is among the many intervention axes within the 2020-2023 Municipal Strategy for Integrating Homeless people. It is important to highlight that this network provides Skills development training, among other competencies, and that 30 homeless people have signed an employment contract in the framework of Plataforma + Emprego.
In the past years, Porto has occupied podium places among Portuguese cities that have been successful in ending homelessness, by coupling such measures with other services that help individuals address this challenge, latest statistics show.