Erap eyes housing facility for city’s street dwellers

The Daily Tribune | Written by Pat C. Santos | July 7, 2016

As a long-term solution to the continuing problem of homeless people, the city government of Manila under Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is planning to put up a housing facility for street dwellers rounded up by the city’s social welfare unit.

Estrada said the city government is presently looking for available land where this planned village for street dwellers will be put up.
“They can’t stay in temporary government shelters forever. They should have a place of their own where they can start their lives again,” the mayor said.

Arnold Pangan, officer-in-charge of the Manila Social Welfare Department (MSWD), said the National Housing Authority (NHA) agreed to help in constructing the shelters.

“Ang NHA willing sila magpatayo, sila ang magpapatayo ng bahay provided tayo ang magbibigay ng lupa,” Pangan explained.

The project is being handled by MSWD, Urban Settlement Office and City Planning Office, he added.

Through the help of various non-government organizations, Pangan said at least 10 homeless families have been given their own houses and in Nueva Ecija, with 20 to 30 more to follow.

“Pero ang pinakamagandang solusyon natin, magkaroon tayo ng clean city shelter for these homeless people,” he pointed out.

The MSWD, he said, has been continuously rounding up street dwellers in the city, including ambulant vendors who have no permanent place to stay, in compliance with Estrada’s “zero street dwellers” campaign.

However, unlike the previous years, Pangan said they have been rescuing fewer street dwellers nowadays, from an average of 100 a day to only 20 because of their relentless operations. He said most of them were not even from the city.

All the rescued street dwellers are fed, bathed and subjected to medical checkup before being turned over to the city-owned Manila Boystown Complex in Marikina City, according to Pangan.

“Directive ito ni Pangulong Mayor, ang iligtas sa panganib ang mga bata, matanda, at mga pamilya sa lansangan,” Pangan said.