Street dwellers opt to stay on streets despite accommodation offer – Director Social Protection

Street dwellers opt to stay on streets despite accommodation offer – Director Social Protection

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 20/02/2024
[Image: File]

All street dwellers have been given the option of accommodation but have chosen to stay on the streets.

This has been highlighted by Director Social Protection Veremo Muria while responding to questions by fijivillage on the number of individuals seen along the Suva-Nausori corridor and in Suva City who are asking for money and living on the streets.

The Director says the Ministry is working closely with the Police and faith based organisations to ensure their safety; however, as adults, the Ministry recognises and treats them like adults and they also have their freedom and human rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

While responding to questions on whether these individuals can be homed at elderly care facilities, Muria says these individuals are asked if they qualify for elderly care facilities but the Department has to ensure the safety of other residents.

He says the plan is that they are rehabilitated first in a separate facility before they are admitted under state care.

Muria says there are few that the Ministry has accommodated at elderly care facilities, however, they have returned to the streets as they prefer their freedom to do what they want.

He further says the Ministry is working closely with Ark of Hope and Vincent Home to provide shelter for the night.

The Director says the choice is given to the street dwellers to be accommodated in either of these faith-based institutions and like any other institution, there are a set of rules that the residents have to adhere to for the safety of other residents seeking shelter.

He says with the assistance of business houses like Vodafone and Leadership Fiji, they have provided sleeping bags and dignity kits to those who are accommodated at the shelter and despite all these efforts, there are individuals who still prefer to find their accommodation.

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