The San Isidro homeless shelter suffers from a bed bug

Facade of the San Isidro hostel for homeless people. GOOGLE MAPS

The San Isidro shelter for homeless people suffers from a plague of bedbugs that has forced the closure of four rooms in its facilities, in which about 300 people spend the night. Sources from the center point out that the situation has forced to relocate many of those who sleep there and even to enable portable beds in a television room. A spokesman for the Madrid City Council confirms that there is a problem for this reason, but adds that “it acts as soon as it is detected.”

“We are afraid to take bed bugs home,” complain the hostel workers, who point out that the closed rooms “are completely infected” by these insects. They say that the closed rooms amount to six. According to these sources, when the bed bugs have been detected, the protocols have not been done properly, that is, it may take several days until measures are taken. “There is carelessness with maintenance and lack of personnel,” they add.

Once the disinfection treatment is started, the rooms can be closed for up to a month, sometimes with the users’ belongings inside. This situation, say the workers, means that there is more overcrowding of the people who sleep there, in addition to preventing them from being provided with a quality public service.

A spokesman for the Madrid City Council acknowledges that there is a problem with bed bugs, but denies that actions to alleviate it are delayed. “It acts as soon as it is detected, the rooms that are affected are closed and the procedure established by Vectors, the pest control entity of Madrid Salud [a municipal body], is indicated.” They were first detected in a room and then in the others, so disinfection works have different rhythms, “he adds.

According to municipal data, the San Isidro facility has 114 rooms, while the current plague only affects four. “It has enabled a living room with television to sleep there. This is normal and is done to avoid transfers where possible, which cause more discomfort for people staying,” explains the municipal spokesman.

The treatment for this type of pests usually lasts about three weeks, so in about 15 days the incidence is expected to be fully controlled. In addition, at the end of August there was another of these pests at the Samur Social headquarters and it is still closed waiting for the situation to be controlled.

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