‘Speed up initiative to assist homeless’

Rosley, manages Malaysian Red Crescent (MRC) temporary food distribution centre at Sri Lanang, said the government could also set up a booth at the centre here.

NON-governmental organisations (NGOs) welcome the move by state authorities to help the homeless in Johor Baru become independent.

Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) community services coordinator Rosley Abd Wahab hopes the state government, together with the relevant authorities, will speed up the programme.

“It is the right decision to take the homeless off the streets in downtown Johor Baru,” he said.

Homeless men would be placed at a temporary shelter in Johor Baru for one year while the permanent shelter in Larkin Perdana was being completed, he said.

The programme to assist the homeless is conducted in collaboration with Johor Baru District Office, Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) and Iskandar Puteri City Council (MBIP).

Rosley said the temporary shelter would be able to accommodate 140 men and MRCS would continue to provide meals and take care of their welfare.

“We will also start an agricultural project at the temporary shelter.

“The Johor Agriculture Depart-ment will provide the necessary training to the residents.”

He said cucumber cultivation in polybags had been identified as the most suitable project, as the crop could be harvested within three months.

“We welcome companies to donate polybags, fertiliser, soil, cucumber seeds and relevant equipment for the project,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, non-governmental individual coordinator Francis Ng said homeless women would be placed at Anjung Singgah Johor in Taman Nong Chik while the men would be in Taman Perling.

“We have been helping the homeless to find employment through job matching,’’ he added.

Ng said employers were encouraged to contact the NGOs if they had job openings or were looking for workers.

At the same time, he advised the homeless not to be too choosy or only willing to do a job deemed suited to their qualifications or experience.

He said the number of homeless people in downtown Johor Baru was not as high as reported.

There are around 80 homeless people, while about 100 are considered transit individuals.

“The transits are those who arrived here from other districts and states in search of jobs in Johor Baru and Singapore before the Covid-19 pandemic thwarted their plans,’’ Ng explained.

Additionally, there were around 100 individuals who had lost their jobs during the pandemic and turned up for free meals provided by NGOs, he noted.

Ng, who is also Pertubuhan Penganut Dewa Natuk Kong (Taman Daya) chairman, is instrumental in the distribution of free meals to the homeless through coordination with several NGOs.

Those who wish to provide assistance can contact Rosley at 018-768 5034 and Ng at 019-777 7256.

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