Penang building first transit centre for homeless

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow discussing the drawing plans for the transit centre. (Facebook pic)

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will build the first transit centre in the state to provide shelter for the homeless.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the Triple Net Zero concept project, would be the transit centre to be built on 1,370 square metres of land owned by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP).

“The problem of homelessness is becoming increasingly rampant.

“This year, the state government, together with MBPP, has agreed to use the proposal previously presented by Penang Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh through the ‘Empowering The Streets Citizens’ programme in 2016,” Chow said during the groundbreaking ceremony for the transit centre project for the homeless on Jalan CY Choy here today.

Chow said based on the records and statistics of the Penang Social Welfare Department, a total of 458 operations to rescue beggars and vagrants were conducted in all Penang’s districts last year.

There were 152 operations in the Northeast district, 103 in the Southwest, 89 in Seberang Perai Utara, 47 in Seberang Perai Tengah and 67 from Seberang Perai Selatan.

An artist’s impression of the transit centre for the homeless to come up on Jalan CY Choy, George Town.

“According to Social Welfare Department’s statistics, 592 beggars or tramps, including foreigners, were rescued last year,” he said.

In view of this, Chow said the state government hopes to see the pilot project succeed as a means to curb the problem of homeless people hanging around.

This problem is often associated with cleanliness and safety issues as well as various social problems which were detrimental to George Town’s image as an Unesco World Heritage Site, a major focal point of local and foreign tourists.