How China looks after its homeless people

Thursday, December 16, 2010

BEIJING/SHANGHAI - As the cold wave sets in in China, authorities are reaching out to the homeless population and have launched fully-equipped facilities for them that include round-the-clock hot food, baths and entertainment.

Civil affairs bureaus in Shanghai and Guangzhou have said temporary shelters for the homeless people will be provided till spring. More than 1,300 shelters have been prepared in Guangzhou.

Hot food, bathing facilities and other services will be available at the shelters 24 hours a day. Each of them is also equipped with 40 to 50 beds. Entertainment activities will also be organised so that they do not feel lonely.

“As the temperature continues to drop over coming days, more resources and materials will be provided to those left homeless over the winter,” Ren Zhiyue, an official of the bureau’s social welfare division, was quoted as saying by China Daily.

The shelters in Shanghai, which are located in 21 social assistance centres, assist 30,000 people each year, according to the bureau.

Their services vary, depending upon people’s needs. A special education and protection centre will be available for the young, while the elderly and disabled can receive care assistance.

For those who refuse to go to shelters, local civil affairs departments will provide quilts, blankets, coats and other materials to help protect them from the cold, officials said.

Over the winter, an emergency rescue team will keep an eye out for the homeless, regularly patrolling at train stations, underpasses and bridges, as well as in culverts.

Social welfare homes, nursing homes and mental hospitals affiliated with the bureaus will receive more stockings, hats and heaters.

Non-government organisations and volunteers are being encouraged to help those in difficulty, while an emergency alert system will monitor the elderly who live alone.

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