When the pandemic hit last year, like a lot of people, 32-year-old Sarawakian Mas Sabran lost his job and was forced to sleep on the streets of Kuala Lumpur as he was left with no choice.
However, last month, Mas and about 200 other homeless people were sent to temporary shelters for the homeless by the Federal Territories Ministry and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
At the shelter, the homeless were offered to be vaccinated under the [email protected] Vaccine Mobile Truck programme.
Speaking to The Star, Mas said, “I am glad to have had the first dose of the vaccine and that we were not left behind.
“The vaccination process was very fast and organised.”
Homeless people who are sheltered at the Sentul Perdana, Setiawangsa and Anjung Kelana community centres have received their first dose of vaccine.
Former security guard, 60-year-old Hasnah Hasan said she was relieved to be vaccinated especially since the cases in the city showed no signs of slowing down in recent weeks.
“Many of us do not own smartphones and have no permanent address. It was not even possible for us to register for the vaccination programme,” she said.
Volunteers from several non-governmental organisations lending a hand to help with the homeless community were looped into yesterday’s vaccination programme.
National Welfare Foundation (YKN) chief executive officer Nordina Haron said 20 of their volunteers were given the opportunity to be vaccinated.
She said, “As we interact with many of these vulnerable communities on a regular basis, being vaccinated would allow us to continue our programmes safely.”
Nordina also said that there are many factors leading to people being homeless and it is not a matter that could be solved overnight.
“We work with other federal agencies and the private sector to establish long-term programmes to help the homeless get back on their feet. One of our pilot projects is the MyKasih Capital Assistance Programme to encourage women to do business, especially those involved in e-commerce or drop-ship,” she said.
Throughout the MCO since last year, DBKL has set up temporary shelters at 10 community centres and multipurpose halls, in addition to two transit centres — Pusat Transit Gelandangan in Jalan Pahang and Anjung Singgah in Jalan Hang Lekiu — to house the homeless to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Watch the process here: