DSWD target: Zero street dwellers in QC, Manila by yearend
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has set for itself that long-elusive target of clearing Metro Manila streets of homeless families, at least in two cities.
The agency on Thursday launched Oplan Balik Bahay-Sagip Buhay (OBBSB) which aims to provide shelter and jobs or microfinancing for street dwellers, focusing first on those found in Manila and Quezon City.
Ma. Alicia Bonoan, DSWD director for the National Capital Region, said the program, aside from extending financial assistance, would help homeless families find affordable places they can rent with the help of local authorities.
The house or room to be rented, for example, has to be validated by the barangay council, Bonoan explained.
The families would be given money to pay rent—covering two months in advance and a one-month deposit. “And then they will be given a starter kit that includes basic necessities such as cooking items, and other interventions,” Bonoan said.
The interventions include a P3,000 “preemployment assistance” per family; capital assistance at P5,000-P10,000 per family; educational assistance at P3,000 per child; health assistance at P1,500 per family; access to literacy and scholarship programs and sociocultural and spiritual activities; and food packs.
But not all families will necessarily receive the entire menu since the extent of the assistance would depend on their specific needs, Bonoan explained.
The program is targeting an estimated 3,500 street-dwelling families in Manila and Quezon City, and is “envisioned to attain zero incidence of children, unattached adults and families on the streets in two highly urbanized cities in Metro Manila by December 2015,” according to the DSWD.
Compared to similar efforts in the past, Bonoan said, OBBSB would be “different because there is the engagement of other stakeholders.”
It is possible that community organizations like the Ermita-Malate Business Owners Association, for example, would hire OBBSB beneficiaries as dishwashers or helpers in their hotels, Bonoan said.
The local government concerned will recommend possible beneficiaries to the DSWD.
The agency will also check if the recommended OBBSB beneficiary is already covered by the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilya or conditional cash transfer program.
Bonoan maintained that the program had nothing to do with the government’s urban beautification efforts in preparation for the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in November this year.
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