AUTHORITIES have rescued 66 homeless people off the streets of Seremban so far this year, an increase from 58 last year.
Negri Sembilan women, family and welfare committee chairman Nicole Tan Lee Koon said 18 of the 66 were involved in alcohol abuse and glue sniffing, while seven had mental illness.
“Last year, 12 were involved in substance abuse and nine were mentally ill,” she said, adding that some homeless people also suffered from dementia.
Substance abuse, mental illness and family problems, said Tan, were the main issues faced by the homeless living on the streets of Seremban.
She said that despite continued efforts by the state authorities to help the homeless, they were still seen loitering around the city.
She told StarMetro that the state government had set up a transit home for the homeless last year called Rumah Minda Ceria (RMC).
Besides shelter, the homeless are provided meals and new clothes at the centre.
Tan said teams known as Squad Peninjau, comprising volunteers and those from RMC, also scour the streets for the homeless.
“Since April last year, we have received fewer reports of the homeless causing a public nuisance.
“Relocating them temporarily to RMC has also helped reduce the mess they create on the streets,” she noted.
Tan said that at RMC, those rescued were also sent to the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital for treatment, if needed.
“Those with mental illness are referred to the psychiatric ward for treatment.
“Once they are given a clean bill of health, we will attempt to reunite them with their families.”
Tan said those with drug addiction were referred to the National Anti-Drug Agency to undergo rehabilitation.
She also said that the majority of the homeless were men, while women made up only 10%.
“We hope to get the homeless off the streets and return them to their families, but to achieve that we need support from volunteers,” she added.