With the aim of “leaving no one behind” in the COVID-19 pandemic, three municipal shelters in Tbilisi, Rustavi and Samtredia that together house up to 200 homeless and elderly people were provided with medical equipment, computers, water heaters, kitchen appliances, furniture and household supplies. The initiative, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with financial support from Denmark and the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, aims to expand municipal services for vulnerable and high-risk groups during the COVID-19 crisis.
On 6 August, UNDP Head Louisa Vinton visited municipal shelters in Tbilisi and Rustavi together with Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure (MRDI), Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi Municipality Andria Basilaia and Rustavi City Mayor Irakli Tabaghua. Vinton met with residents and staff of the shelters to understand the challenges they face. A similar visit is planned to Samtredia on 11 August.
“For people with no place to live, the COVID-19 pandemic can be life-threatening,” said Vinton, “so we are glad that municipal shelters can offer refuge. UNDP’s aim is to improve safety and living conditions for those who rely on shelters and, looking beyond the crisis, to find systemic solutions for the vulnerable.”
UNDP is assisting municipal shelters as part of a broader support package provided by the UN system to help the Government and communities manage the health emergency and recover from its economic and social consequences. Georgia was one of the first 46 countries named eligible for funding from the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, established by the UN Secretary-General, and the UN team in Georgia has received USD 1 million to protect vulnerable groups from the pandemic impact.
UNDP has been on the frontline of the pandemic response in Georgia since the first days of the emergency, focusing on the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups. Working closely with Government, donors and partners, UNDP has repurposed much of its annual USD 20 million programme to assist in the response and speed up the recovery. Among other activities, support has been provided to municipal authorities and local communities under the programme for decentralization and good governance that UNDP is implementing in partnership with MRDI with over USD 4 million in funding from Denmark.