As part of its newly launched advocacy campaign, #HelptheHomelessPH that aims to raise public awareness on the real plight of homeless families, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will hold a reach out activity for them today at the Luneta park.
DSWD-Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel Leyco will lead the reach out activity. The DSWD has prepared a simple meal of lugaw with chicken and egg for homeless families who have long made the Luneta park and surrounding environs their home.
OIC Leyco said that this simple activity, which is just the first of a series of efforts for homeless families, concretizes the core message of the campaign, “Responsableng tulong ang kailangan ng mga taong nakatira sa lansangan.”
Through the campaign, DSWD intends to raise public awareness on the actual situation of homeless families and the reasons why they stay on the streets. It is also a call to action for everyone to take part in addressing the concerns of this vulnerable sector.
The campaign also redirects public perception on giving alms on the streets which is not aligned with responsible help as it only poses more dangers to homeless families.
We must push for better and more concrete actions and programs that will end homelessness and give those who currently live in extreme poverty and want on the streets and alleyways of our cities and municipalities. We hope that we can work with local government units in coming up with humane and sustainable efforts to address the plight of the homeless and care for them so they can recover and improve their lives,” said OIC Leyco.
The welfare executive further said, “We have programs for homeless families like the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) and the Comprehensive Program for the Homeless and Sama Bajau (COMPRE), but the Department cannot help all homeless Filipinos on its own given our limited budget and mandate. We appeal to various groups and private citizens to take part in this humane campaign to help the poorest families the responsible way. Let us help the homeless by sharing our time, effort, and resources. Makibahagi tayo sa ating mga naghihirap na kababayan at magbahagi tayo sa kanila ng tulong.”
Since 2011 up to 2016, DSWD’s COMPRE project has helped some 10,390 homeless families in the National Capital Region (NCR). On the other hand, the MCCT for Homeless Families has benefited 5,575 beneficiaries also from NCR.
OIC Leyco cited some activities to help the homeless in the right and responsible way such as organizing gift-giving actions, medical missions, feeding programs, story-telling and art sessions for children, among many others.
In the meantime, #HelpTheHomelessPH spokesperson Assistant Secretary Aleli B. Bawagan said that while the DSWD discourages giving alms to the homeless because of the existing anti-mendicancy law, “We encourage members of the public to give nourishing food, blankets, slippers, backpacks, sleeping mats, umbrellas, as well as soap, toothpaste, shampoo and underwear to Filipinos living on the streets.”
“Even as we campaign for reforms to end homelessness, giving the homeless food and materials that they can immediately use in their daily battle for survival is also very important,” she said.
Asec. Aleli enjoined members of the public to support #HelptheHomelessPH by giving to the homeless and posting stories about them on social media.
“We are not promoting ourselves by giving to the homeless when we post on social media the help that we give to them – we are calling attention to their plight and encouraging others to also give and share. We want the call to Help The Homeless to trend on social media, and more importantly to make people less cynical about the poor and become more compassionate and positive about helping,” she said. #