Homeless find hope at KL shelter


Some of the homeless folk settling in at Care Shelter Kuala Lumpur, which used to be a capsule hotel. — Photos: IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

HIDAYATULLAH Abdullah, 54, longs to reunite with his son whom he has not been in contact with for over a decade.

They became estranged when Hidayatullah left the family after a bitter marital feud that led to a divorce.

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Last year, he left his hometown of Pasir Gudang, Johor, to seek a better life in Kuala Lumpur, only to become homeless.

“I used to work in a security firm in Johor, working 12 hours a day and earning RM1,600 a month.

“The job was exhausting and when a friend suggested setting up a small business in Kuala Lumpur, I was excited.

“We stayed at a hotel in Pudu but my friend disappeared a day later, taking all my belongings with him,” he told StarMetro.

A penniless Hidayatullah began roaming the streets with other homeless individuals and relied on non-governmental organisations for food.

In late July, a volunteer from Care Shelter Kuala Lumpur, a shelter for the homeless run by a social enterprise in Chow Kit, found him.

When met at the shelter, Hidayatullah expressed hope of finding a job soon to support himself.

“I have also been in touch with a friend in Johor who is helping me to reconnect with my son.

StarMetro’s report on July 16.StarMetro’s report on July 16.

“I heard that my son, too, is keen to meet up and wants me to come live with him,” he said.

Care Shelter Kuala Lumpur founder and director Adzarul Buqary Abu Bakar, 27, said there were currently 15 people at the shelter which was formerly a capsule hotel.

“They consist of Malaysian men between the ages of 28 and 69.

“When they come here, they need to register their details, including their MyKad number, so we can run a background check with the police to ensure they are not involved in any criminal activities,” he explained.

On July 16, StarMetro reported about an initiative by Care Shelter Kuala Lumpur to rescue the homeless from the streets.

Under the programme, homeless individuals were interviewed by volunteers on whether they were keen to stay at the shelter for three months.

The shelter has received funding from the CIMB Foundation to help with its monthly expenses.

Those who decided to stay at the shelter were roped in to help paint murals as part of renovations that were going on.

Adzarul said this allowed the homeless and volunteers to interact with one another and gain different perspectives.

“It gives us a chance to better understand the plight of the homeless, and for them to be inspired to improve their lives,” he said.

Adzarul: Residents at the shelter are screened to ensure they do not have any criminal record.Adzarul: Residents at the shelter are screened to ensure they do not have any criminal record.

He also helped find employment for the residents to prepare them for a life outside the shelter.

“I recently secured a job interview at a restaurant near Dataran Merdeka for one of our residents.

“I saw an advertisement on the vacancy and contacted the operator to ask if they could hire the individual,” he said.

The candidate, Azizan Abdullah, 30, appeared upbeat about the upcoming interview for the job of a waiter that pays RM1,600 a month.

“Two months ago, I lost my job at a hotel’s housekeeping department.

“It was then that I started living on the street.

“I have a car and motorcycle, with monthly repayments of RM650 and RM300, respectively,” he said.

Azizan, an only child who was raised by his late grandmother in Pokok Sena, Kedah, is determined to become financially independent again.

He is estranged from his mother, who lives in Wangsa Maju with her new husband and children.

“After my father died, I lived with my mother and stepfather who would discipline me harshly.

“My grandmother disapproved of his use of physical punishment and took me to Kedah, where I lived with her and my aunt.

“After her death, my aunt continued raising me.

“However, she later got married, after which I came to Kuala Lumpur to work,” he recounted.

Azizan is not keen to meet his mother’s family anytime soon.

“I know what happened was a long time ago, but the memory still hurts me,” he said.

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