The Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Ministry is in the midst of developing an information system to document homeless people in the state.
Its minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said it would be a statewide system which could be updated by personnel in every division.
“It will be a Web-enabled system that allows the Welfare Department personnel to key-in and access information about homeless people in Sarawak.
“For example, if they conduct small-scale operations in their divisions or if they receive reports from the public, they will check and provide the necessary assistance and then key-in the information into the system,” she told reporters before taking part in an integrated operation to help the homeless on Monday night.
Fatimah said the importance of having complete and accurate information was to have a clearer picture of the homeless people in Sarawak.
“We want to know more about the homeless people; where there are and what causes them to be homeless.
“The information will be used to plan and carry out intervention programmes.
“Big-scale operations involving various agencies cannot be conducted every month, but homeless people are always there. As long as there are reports from the public, the Welfare Dept personnel will go down to check and render the necessary help,” she said.
She added that the information system was in the planning process and would be up before end of the year.
Fatimah said once the homeless people were found, they would be interviewed for their particulars and their health checked.
“We want to know their age, origin and whether they have any family or not, and what causes them to be on the streets. If they have family, the first thing to do is to return them home.
“If (they have) no family and are aged 60 and above, we will send them to old folks’ homes, provided there is no drug or mental case involved. Mental cases are to be confirmed and addressed by the Health Department,” she said.
During the briefing earlier, Fatimah said five operations were conducted statewide last year, and had helped 40 homeless persons including four mental and four drug-positive cases.
During Monday night’s integrated operation, four homeless people were rounded up at Kuching Waterfront and then brought to the Anjung Singgah temporary shelter at Rubber Road.
The operation was conducted in five Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) areas, namely Satok, Electra House, India Street, divisional mosque and Kuching Waterfront, and five areas in Kuching South City Council (MBKS), namely Kenyalang Park, Chong Lin Park, Sekama, Padungan and King Centre.
Several agencies were involved such as Welfare Department, Anjung Singgah, police, DBKU, MBKS, Immigration Department, Health Department, National Registration Department, Civil Defence Department, National Anti-Drugs Agency and voluntary welfare groups.
It was the second operation this year after the first one in Limbang on Jan 23, where no homeless persons were found. The next operation will be in Sibu.
Women and Family Department director Noriah Ahmad was also present during the briefing and operation.
Source : Antonia Chiam @ Borneo Post Online