DSWD drive shows 'right and responsible way' to help homeless families
MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) launched the #HelptheHomelessPH campaign to raise public awareness on the plight of homeless families and how to help them.
On Thursday afternoon, December 28, the agency gathered families who have long made the Luneta Park their home and served them with lugaw (porridge) with chicken and egg.
Social workers also distributed clothes, slippers, blankets, and were also distributed.
#HelptheHomelessPH, which was launched on December 20, seeks to make the public understand why homeless people stay in the streets and to redirect their perception about giving alms on the streets.
Concrete actions for the homeless
According to DSWD officer-in-charge Emmanuel Leyco, the activity on Thursday is the first of a series of efforts for 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," Leyco said.
The DSWD would like to work with local government units in coming up with humane and sustainable efforts to help the homeless in recovering and improving their lives, he added.
During the activity, social workers shared the various services and programs that it provides and how these have benefited the poor. .
For instance, the DSWD said that its programs for homeless families such as Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) have benefited 5,575 families, while the Comprehensive Program for the Homeless and Sama Bajau (COMPRE) helped 10,390 families from 2011 to 2016 in the National Capital Region. (READ: P1 billion aligned for poor families to be hit by proposed tax reform - DSWD)
Share time, effort, resources
Leyco also asked help from various groups and private citizens to take part in the campaign.
"Let us help the homele our time, effort, and resources," he said.
According to DSWD, some "right and by sharing responsible ways" to help the homeless are organizing gift-giving actions, medical missions, feeding programs, story-telling, and art sessions for children.
"It is very difficult to hold activities for the homeless because they are spread out all over the metro. But once you get started - once you've succeeded in gathering them in one place or once you've gone to areas where they congregate, it's easier: You immediately see and hear for yourself what they need," according to Ina Silverio, Information Officer of the Office of the DSWD Secretary.
Meanwhile, #HelpTheHomelessPH spokesperson Assistant Secretary Aleli Bawagan reminded the public that the DSWD discourages giving alms to the homeless due to the Anti-Mendicancy Law of 1978, which prohibits anyone from begging in the street. (READ: Do not give alms to beggars this Christmas - DSWD)
Bawagan instead appealed to the public to support #HelptheHomelessPH by giving nourishing food and materials that families can immediately use in their daily survival and post stories about them on social media. — Rappler.com