Ministry profiles 39 cases of homeless people in Suva City - Raj

Ministry profiles 39 cases of homeless people in Suva City - Raj

By Iliana Biutu
Wednesday 11/01/2023
Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Permanent Secretary, Ashwin Raj

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation has profiled 39 cases of people who are homeless in Suva City and from this exercise, 21 were adults between the age of 18 to 59 years, 16 were children under 18 years and 2 were Older Persons.

Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ashwin Raj confirms that there is an increase in homeless people in Suva and they are working in collaboration with partners through a task force that tries to understand the issues of those on the streets.

He says they understand that while immediate measures are being rendered through welfare assistance, more strategic, consulted and inclusive means must be exhausted to understand and work with the people on the streets.

Raj adds these cases are profiled and assessed and the Ministry tries to work in partnership with the individual, families and organizations that can assist.

The Permanent Secretary says they will work closely with all partners including the faith-based, private sector, civil society, government agencies and development partners to be progressive in solutions or pathways in this area.

He says with contextualized solutions in mind, the Ministry is dedicated to more humane approaches to getting to know the people and their circumstances and working with partners on more enabling platforms to help the homeless.

Raj says two faith-based ministries and two Non-Government Organization are assisting the homeless, and they are Ahava Ministries, Ark of Hope, Psychiatric Survivors and Saint Vincent De Paul Home.

He adds to address the issue, it has to have an inclusive platform to understand and make strategies on the way forward.

Raj says they are currently working in collaboration in this area, hence, it is an area where they wish to strengthen strategically through basically planning, implementing and monitoring in collaboration.

The Permanent Secretary further says the Ministry will take a lead role in this as they are currently working with agencies in response to the issue, however, he say this is part of their strategy for the next 5-years.

Raj adds the factors contributing to being on the streets vary on a case-by-case basis, however, the trend is that due to family circumstances, older persons are abused and neglected by families.

He says the Ministry profiles and tried to reconnect with families to encourage them to take responsibility, however, managing these cases are not simple and that is why they need to respect human dignity by identifying possible solutions.

He also says they find that it can be a challenging to convince people to recommend solutions as they may be short-term solutions.

The Permanent Secretary says they will work closely with partners to include the street dwellers in the conversations and address this issue with partners.

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