PETALING JAYA: The Sarawak government will set up a transit home in Kuching for the homeless who are suffering from mental health problems.
State women, childhood and community wellbeing development minister Fatimah Abdullah said that RM750,000 has been approved for the home and its operation costs, with the project expected to be completed next year, Borneo Post reported.
She added that while her ministry had yet to hire a team to operate the shelter, it would prefer an NGO with expertise in mental health.
“We recommend this halfway house to be operated by NGOs that have mental health experts,” she was quoted as saying.
“This is important to ensure that the homeless and the vulnerable who are referred to Sentosa Hospital will continue receiving the necessary care and support that they need.
“Homeless people who are found to have mental illness have to be admitted to Sentosa Hospital for a few days.
“So before being discharged, they will be placed at this house so that continuous treatment can be carried out.”
Fatimah also noted that while Sarawak has a few temporary homeless shelters, they are not equipped to care for those who suffer from mental health problems.
The minister said more has to be done to ensure that homeless people are getting the support they need.
She suggested more integrated collaboration between the state government and parties such as the private sector, philanthropists and NGOs to deal with the issue.
“Social issues such as homelessness are complex problems and cannot be dealt with in silos,” she said.
“Focusing on homelessness can improve the well-being of the community in an inclusive manner, in addition to addressing its impact on public health, public safety, urban cleanliness and tourism in our major cities,” she added.