Kraków is supporting the establishment of Poland’s first hostel for LGBTI people ©Getty Images

Councillors in Kraków have pledged to support the establishment of Poland’s first refuge hostel for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in a bid to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Kraków and Małopolska region is preparing to stage the 2023 European Games but has faced criticism after the latter area declared itself free of LGBTI ideology.

Małopolska is one of 100 areas in Poland to have made the controversial declaration, leading to condemnation from the European Parliament.

Flemish Sports Minister Ben Weyts also criticised European Olympic Committees (EOC) for awarding the European Games to Kraków-Małopolska, claiming the declarations are against the Olympic Charter.

Authorities in Kraków have agreed to support nation’s first hostel for the LGBTI community for the next two years, with city councillor Alicja Szczepańska insisting "one is not enough".

"My initiative regarding this hostel has permanently entered the city budget," said Szczepańska.

"The authorities of Kraków were the first in the country to implement a very important postulate."

According to reports in Poland, the centre will receive PLN184,000 (£36,000/$49,289/€40,662) to go towards the rent and maintenance of apartments as well as psychological counselling for tenants.

The building in Kraków boasts 12 rooms complete with two bathrooms and a shared kitchen and dining room.

People who have been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and have been left homeless can find temporary shelter in the hostel.

The aim of the centre is to help victims get back on their feet and find their own accommodation. 

Their stay is not time-limited.

It is understood a further hostel for the LGBTI community could be created in Polish capital Warsaw.

The Kraków and Małopolska region is preparing to stage the 2023 European Games ©Getty Images
The Kraków and Małopolska region is preparing to stage the 2023 European Games ©Getty Images

"More such establishments are needed," added Szczepańska.

"One is not enough."

The hostel in Kraków is run by the Głos Serca Foundation and was originally established in 2016 to provide shelter for women who have been victims of violence.

In a report by telewizjarepublika, Dr Bawer Aondo-Akaa questioned whether the hostel dedicated to supporting the LGBTI community was needed, demonstrating that support i far from universal in Kraków.

"If this center is run for our money, for taxpayers' money, does Kraków really have such a well-developed development of assistance to the victims that it can afford to allocate this money only to the group that screams the loudest?

"Violence not only affects LGBT people, but also elderly people who are victims of violence, including by the young," Aondo-Akaa said.

"There is no mention of this help."

The European Parliament in 2019 voted 463 to 107 in favour of condemning the zones in Poland, which at the time were adopted by 80 Polish municipal or local Governments.

The European Parliament urged Polish authorities to "condemn these acts and revoke all resolutions attacking LGBTI rights".

In November 2020, Polish President Andrzej Duda suggested the country's Government may have differing views on "ideological issues" compared to incoming United States President Joe Biden.

Biden has described the European nation as being a "totalitarian regime" and has criticised the LGBT-free zones in the country.

Poland was selected as the third host of the European Games in June 2019 after the Kraków and Małopolska region bid was the only application.

The first European Games were held in Baku in 2015, with Minsk following with the second edition in 2019.

Both Baku 2015 and Minsk 2019 faced criticism over the host nations' respective records on human rights.

The EOC in October last year told insidethegames its role was to ensure the Olympic Charter is "respected and there is no discrimination of any kind" at the Games.