The Streets of Bucharest

Once called the "Little Paris of the East," Bucharest, Romania — a member of the European Union— has a challenging legacy from its communist past. Despite its reluctance to discuss, Romania, particularly its capital city, is home to a significant and growing homeless community. These individuals reside in the country's network of canals, originally built for heating, water, and sewage, as well as in abandoned buildings and slums. These structures provide only minimal shelter against harsh weather conditions, are overcrowded, and lack hygienic and sanitary facilities. This subterranean world is fraught with issues including drug use, disease, and poverty. Many inhabitants suffer from tuberculosis, hepatitis, or are HIV positive. Approximately 6,000 homeless people live in Bucharest, with an estimated 1,000 being children. The poverty experienced reaches extreme and often inhumane levels.