Tuesday, July 5

‘Homeless old folk an issue of great concern’


MIRI: There are still cases of homeless senior citizens here – those who do not have family members or relatives to care for them – which have not been reported to relevant authorities like the Welfare Department.

In observing this, Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting also said there were cases of some elderly folk living alone without much support or attention from families and relatives.

“We grow up and grow old. When the time comes, our ability to work and take care of ourselves may be reduced to almost none; therefore the support from family members is vital to enable the old folk to lead good lives in their golden years.

“There are also unfortunate cases where senior citizens live all alone and may not have any support from families and relatives. For such cases, it’s time for the government to step in to help,” Ting said, pointing out that the issue of homeless old folk is a challenging one and the only channel to refer such cases to is Welfare Department.

“Some people may not know where to refer these cases to. In this regard, they are welcome to report these cases to any SUPP branches,” he said, assuring all that he would personally assist them in applying for welfare assistance.

“Currently, there isn’t any specific programme to assist these homeless old folk due to the limited resources of the Welfare Department,” added Ting.

As such, he viewed places like the Home for the Aged Miri could be the most viable option for these homeless senior citizens – provided that they would allow the relevant authorities to conduct background checks on them before placing them into the home.

On homeless individuals who were still young and capable, Ting said handing out food and money to them might not be a good solution.

“Firstly, they can still do work and take care of themselves. The things that they really need are counselling, as well as the opportunity for them to stand up again and start anew,” he said, pointing out that at present, Sarawak lacks the data on the number of homeless people who live on their own – young and old alike.

“It would help a lot if members of the public could report such cases to the Welfare Department should they come across any, so that the authorities could keep track on these individuals.”