The Maksak Sibu House at Jalan Sanyan here will be turned into a transit place for the homeless (TTUG), the first of its kind to be established in the state.
Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said the state government had agreed to allocate a grant of RM546,000 to renovate the Maksak House.
“The Sibu TTUG that will be established will be able to accommodate 40 homeless people at a time. The capacity is based on the average number of 30 homeless people identified in Sibu for the past three years.
“The concept of TTUG Sibu is as a temporary stopover for homeless people to clean themselves, eat and sleep at night. The next day, they will go out for their business,” she told a press conference at the Resident’s Office here yesterday.
Fatimah, who is also the Dalat assemblywoman, hoped that the renovation work would be done as soon as possible and TTUG Sibu can operate in the near future.
Earlier, Fatimah visited the Maksak House and mingled with three homeless people who received free haircuts and donation from the Sibu Social Welfare Department.
According to her, TTUG will provide transit facilities for homeless people to sleep and eat for free at night.
In addition, TTUG will also provide physical, mental health screening services, substance abuse detection and provide reference assistance to relevant agencies. She also said that the TTUG Sibu will be managed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) appointed by her ministry and the Sibu Divisional Social Monitoring Coordination Committee (JPPSB).
Shan Xin Charity Association of Malaysia Sibu branch had been identified by JPPSB Sibu as an anchor to manage TTUG Sibu, said Fatimah.
“The state government has also agreed to allocate a grant of RM244,800 annually to the Shan Xin Charity Association of Malaysia Sibu branch to cover operating costs of running TTUG Sibu,” she said.
Other NGOs that will also provide the necessary services and contributions are the Sibu United Chinese Association (UCA), Red Crescent Society (MRCS) Sibu branch, Sibu Lions Club, Junior Chamber International (JCI) Sibu, KRT Brooke Drive and Empawah, Chinese Annual Conference, Methodist Church Sibu and several other NGOs as well as kind hearted individuals who have expressed commitment to contribute to TTUG Sibu, she said.
Fatimah also said that her ministry was planning to set up TTUG in Kuching, Miri and Bintulu in collaboration with the Divisional Social Monitoring Coordination Committee chaired by their respective Residents.
“For Kuching and Miri, we are currently in the process of finding a strategic area to establish this TTUG. I also call on all parties to continue to support efforts to ensure that every section of society can enjoy social well-being,” she added.