30.11.2022

What is inside the rehab center, where professional beggars live

Early in the morning on February 5, an extension with a boiler house near a two-story brick house caught fire on Sedova Street in Novosibirsk. It would seem – an ordinary fire, in which no one was injured and even the living quarters were not touched by fire.

But in the house, employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations found 32 people, 19 of whom were disabled. According to an NGS source, professional beggars live in the rehab center. After the incident, almost all the guests were put on a bus and taken to other houses. NGS journalist Alena Istomina visited this house and talked with the people who remained there.

Locals say that this house belongs to the Gypsies – quiet and calm. But the owners began to rent out the dwelling, and the street shuddered from the “crowd of outcasts.”

A staggering woman of indeterminate age with dark spots around her eyes approaches the gate. He won’t tell you anything – he has no right to do that. The owner is not there, everyone left anyway, and no one was hurt in the fire.

“It was our drunken fireman who didn’t close the door at night, and it flared up there, but everything was extinguished,” the woman explains, hiding her swollen face, and goes into the house.

A police officer drives up to the house – to take an explanatory note from the tenants.

“This is a rehab center,” the policeman explains to me. – They are here voluntarily, but now we will find out everything. Recreation center for disabled people, private.

An employee walks into the house, and another guest meets me – in a hastily pulled hat and wide trousers. Exhaling fumes, the woman threatens to break my phone, and if I don’t understand, then my head.

I offer a cigarette. The woman, happily rolling, invites me into the house. Let’s get acquainted. Her name is Yulia, she is the youngest resident of the rehab center, she is 31 years old.

– Excuse me for that … My sister gave birth to a son. A fire, and a sister is giving birth to a son, she noted a little here, – Yulia explains in confusion. – Our shed burned down, we slept at that time.

Yulia’s sister is far away, they have not seen each other for two months. Since the day her stepfather took Yulia to the rehab center. Because winter has begun and it has become cold at home. They feed normally – milk, porridge, soup, bread. In general, everything is there.

– And they make you work?

“It’s a secret,” Julia winks at me conspiratorially. – I work as a janitor.

When asked about begging, Yulia curls up and completely goes into a whisper: “There are some, but they have already been taken away.” The woman began to assure that no one forces to beg, people themselves “go there”.

Julia complains that everyone was taken away, and she will have to do a general cleaning in the house. The rickety doors, a broken toilet bowl and other inconveniences, Yulia blames on a fire.

A tall man in a tracksuit comes down from the second floor. He smiles tightly and introduces himself as Andrey, the deputy head of the rehab center. The organization itself, according to him, is charitable and exists at the expense of the state.

– We work for money, – the man emphatically draws the last word by syllables. – As it should be. We don’t work for free. How much they pay is a secret.

Andrei emphasizes that their center is religious. And then he invites me to a service on Sunday, on Kramskoy Street in the Siberian Christian Center. Modern music, fun, only a man suggests that a husband or boyfriend will be against it, but I can take a girlfriend with me. I agree to come, and Andrey happily looks at Yulia, they smile and give each other five.

“People come here in difficult life situations,” Andrei continues. – Someone in a difficult life situation, bad. Someone, as they say, is a bum. People are dressed and fed here. They are mostly undocumented. We pray for them that such situations will never happen.

– There were beggars, but I already scolded them. Well, as he scolded, he reprimanded, – explains Andrey. – There are people who are simply inadequate. So they clean up on the street, hop – and go out somewhere. And here, in general, in this center, you can’t smoke. Those who smoked before go and beg. We have our own church routines. But you can’t talk about them.

There is no information about the name of the rehabilitation center in the house. In “2GIS” the premises are simply marked as a private house. Julia and Andrey only mention the name of the center owner – Artyom. And they refuse to tell something about him.

– All materials, including on the fact of finding people with disabilities in the premises and compliance with fire safety requirements for social facilities, will be transferred to law enforcement agencies, the prosecutor’s office and the Novosibirsk mayor’s office, – said the press service of the Ministry of Emergency Situations on NSO.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs told the NGS journalist that they had not yet received the case materials about this situation.

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