The Movement Control Order is hard on people but for some, finding a safe space is already a task. Fortunately, some 501 homeless have now been homed in two transit and four community centres around the capital under a Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) mission to track and keep them safe while the MCO is taking place, as reported by The Star.
Aside from the homeless transit centres in Jalan Pahang and Anjung Singgah, KL mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan said four community centres and multipurpose halls under the city council – the Sentul Perdana and Setiawangsa community centres, and Alam Damai Cheras and Tasik Ampang Hilir multipurpose halls – have also been turned into temporary shelters.
“We will continue looking for them in the capital and saving them throughout the MCO. Some are in hiding to protect against Covid-19,” he told reporters after visiting the Sentul Perdana community centre on Wednesday (1 April). He added they have been tested for Covid-19 before they are homed and so far no one has tested positive.
The placement is based on three categories: the healthy; those with a communicable disease, mental illness, drug abuse issues; and non-citizens.
“The healthy are being housed at the Sentul Perdana community centre and Tasik Ampang Hilir multipurpose hall with 181 and 62 people each, while the Setiawangsa community with 95 people, is for those with issues and the Alam Damai Cheras multipurpose hall has 30 non-citizens,” Nor Hisham said.
99 men are staying at the Jalan Pahang transit centre, and 43 men and women, including three children, are at Anjung Singgah, with both places run by Yayasan Kebajikan Negara. DBKL is also keeping biometric data on the residents to help agencies channel aid and so forth.
Hisham said any NGOs are welcome to contribute to these shelters but they must get the help of the Welfare Department (JKM) and follow the National Security Council (MKN)’s standard operating procedure.
“Right now, there is no food distribution at Medan Tuanku… not allowed to do it in a group because we want to maintain social distancing,” he said.
According to a study conducted by DBKL, it’s revealed that the number of homeless people in KL stands at 1,500 – 2,000 as of February 2016. This number shows a threefold increase since 2014, where only 600 homeless people were recorded. Although providing shelter for the 501 people is lauded, there are still over a thousand homeless in KL according to the stats (that are from 2016 – there should be more by now).
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