Last November, the Vatican's office of papal charities and Sant'Egidio together opened a new shelter and soup kitchen in a building facing the colonnade of St. Peter's Square.
Palazzo Migliori has around 30 beds. Signifredi said previously people would enter the shelter at 7 pm, have dinner, sleep, and leave around 8:00 the next morning. Now, trying to help people stay off the streets even during the day, they have drastically extended these hours.
"So people stay inside their 'home' as much as possible," he said.
Now the guests can enter the shelter at 4:30 pm, staying until the next day after lunch, only having to spend a few hours outside. They can also get all three meals at the soup kitchen.
The Missionaries of Charity also have a center for homeless on Vatican property. One sister told CNA the community in Rome continues "to work and pray" during the coronavirus emergency.
"We continue doing what we are doing, according to the rules and regulations," she said.
Signifredi said the principle worry of men and women living on the streets right now is "they will not find the necessary help to live, they will be more isolated."
"They see that the [city's streets are] empty and that there is no one to help. I can tell you that people are very grateful when we go to find them."
He said though volunteers are wearing masks and gloves and maintaining one meter of distance between themselves and others, "a physical distance does not mean a human distance."
"We should continue to communicate the fact that they are our friends… We cannot shake hands or give a hug, but we can continue to communicate our affection for a person." Even with the mask on the eyes can show a smile, he stated.
The Sant'Egidio community is also sustained by prayer, Signifredi said, and is praying together every day through the internet. "Our online prayer helps us to resist in a moment of great difficulty, in which we lose our reference points, in which we suffer because we cannot pray together, because we cannot celebrate the Eucharist together."
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Prayer, he added, helps you "to not think that these are bad times and you can do nothing, but that really there is a horizon of hope."