Homelessness Around the World: A Report from Mashhad, Iran

Homelessness is an issue that transcends geographical, economic and political boundaries. In this edition of Homelessness Around the World, guest reporter Mohammad Javad Mousavizadeh checks in from Mashhad, Iran, the second-largest city in Iran, to highlight local efforts to house the homeless during winter:

Mashhad Homeless Shelters Welcomes Who Want to Escape Cold Temperatures

By Mohammad Javad Mousavizadeh

With the drop in temperature, Mashhad Municipality opened its shelters doors for those with nowhere to go.

For most of us, winter means snowball fights, skiing, and family gatherings, but it means brutal challenges and a dangerous situation for homeless people.

In Mashhad, the second-largest Iranian city, with dry and cold weather, the temperature reached 26.6 degrees Fahrenheit in recent days in January 2022.

Recently, the people of Mashhad donated warm clothes, socks, and blankets to people experiencing homelessness. Also, in Mashhad’s plan for winter support for the homeless, the agents of the Municipality approach homelessness on the street and encourage them to go to local shelters.

“The eight shelters in Mashhad have been prepared to host the homeless, and the municipality transports homeless people from the streets to these places,” said Mashhad’s Mayor, Seyed Abdullah Arjaei.

“The shelters are equipped with hot showers and toilets, and homeless people receive hot meals,” added Arjaei.

Also, when all passersby around the city see persons outside on a cold night can contact 137 Number, the accountability center of the municipality, to save the life of fellow citizens.

In addition, during harsh winters in Mashhad, some local shelters and independent organizations seek donations to keep people warm when experiencing homelessness.

Notably, Mashhad is the capital of Khorasan Razavi Province, northeastern Iran, and is regarded locally as a holy city. It is the burial place of Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha, the eighth imam in Twelver Shiism. Millions of Shia Muslims worldwide traveled annually to Mashhad before the onset of the pandemic.

Photos courtesy of Mohammad Javad Mousavizadeh