Caritas MJD working with NGOs to help homeless in JB

Caritas Diocese of Malacca-Johore (MJD) has been working together with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) to give aid to the homeless in the area.

Jul 24, 2021

By Anette Appaduray
Caritas Diocese of Malacca-Johore (MJD) has been working together with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) to give aid to the homeless in the area.

Director of Caritas MJD/OHD, Hugh Dason, explained that there are many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Catholic parishes that are jointly working to provide the homeless in Johor Bahru with food, medical aid and job opportunities.

Caritas Malaysia is a faith-based organisation which offers help to the needy during times of crisis and humanitarian emergencies. The organisation is a part of Caritas Asia and Caritas Internationalis.

“[Caritas] and the MRCS have now combined to help the homeless,” Hugh said, when speaking to the HERALD in an interview.

Hugh explained that initially, the non-governmental organisations and churches were providing assistance to the homeless on their own, before deciding to join forces.

“[Multiple] organisations in the Johor area have come together to offer their services in the form of manpower and donations,” Hugh said.

Hugh also shared that there is now a centralised location in Johor Bahru city where the homeless can go to for food aid, known as the Sri Lanang Distribution Centre. It is a street distribution centre located in a car park. “All the food is distributed at a central location in the city of Johor Bahru. We provide two meals a day, seven days a week,” Hugh said.

Hugh added that there are currently about 250 registered homeless people in Johor Bahru, but there are more than this number that require food aid, due the ongoing Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed in the state and nationwide.

The Sri Lanang Distribution Centre was set up at the end of 2020 and has been ongoing ever since.

Besides food aid, Caritas also works with Anjung Singgah YKN, a government supported project to help the homeless, to provide for housing and medical assistance for the homeless in need. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Johor Bahru has also created a Facebook page to share and spread job openings for both the homeless and nonhomeless affected by the MCO.

“We help to spread the word about job openings and we encourage the homeless [who come to the Sri Lanang Distribution Centre] to go for interviews if the opening is suitable,” adding that they are also given money and transport assistance to attend these interviews.

“The best way to help the homeless is by helping them to find a job,” Hugh explained.

“The immediate aim is ensuring that they are fed, so we will help them with food aid until they are able to find work and support themselves independently,” he added.

Another immediate need for the homeless at the moment is vaccinations. Hugh shared that the homeless in Johor Bahru are assisted with the vaccination registration process and transport to vaccination appointments. Deacon Louis Martin is currently the coordinator for Caritas MJD, North Johore Vicariate.

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