Homelessness and hunger widespread in Venezuelan capital of Caracas

Latin America

Homelessness and hunger widespread in Venezuelan capital of Caracas

Years of economic hardship have led to rising homelessness in Venezuela. CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas filed this report on what it’s like to be homeless and hungry in the capital city of Caracas.

They line up once a week, hoping to get a ticket to exchange for their first meal of the day. Sometimes, it’s their first meal in several days. The volunteers have a limited number of tickets to give out, and pregnant women, children, and the elderly are given priority.

Three years ago, Gaspere Salerno created a program at the Catholic church where he’s a priest to help feed people who live on the streets of Caracas.

“The majority of people living in the streets are normal people — people who could not keep up with the economic crisis and ended up living in the streets,” Father Gaspere said.

Father Gaspere also said the program depends on donations from parishioners. It’s helped feed more than 54,000 people over the past year alone.

The homeless of Caracas sleep on the street, under bridges, in parks, or in front of grocery stores with little protection from the elements.

According to the latest Survey on Living Conditions in Venezuela, conducted by the country’s leading universities, more than 60 percent of all Venezuelans now live in extreme poverty. It’s a shocking number that’s ballooned from under a quarter of citizens found to be extremely poor just four years ago.

According to the Survey on Living Conditions, only one in 10 Venezuelans can afford enough food each day for a healthy diet. For the hundreds of homeless people who line up for a meal ticket at El Rosal each week, the food provides some sustenance to continue fighting adversity even as they live life on the streets.