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Fiji Time: 6:59 AM on Monday 21 April

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Rehabilitation centre for homeless and beggars

Nasik Swami
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

BEGGARS who are homeless and mentally-challenged will soon have a place to call home.

The newly-established interagency taskforce comprising the police and the Health and Local Government ministries is working with NGOs and faith-based organisations to build a rehabilitation facility.

Social Welfare permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said a recent beggar profiling exercise revealed there were 40 beggars in Suva alone.

"The purpose of the profiling was to identify the determinant factors of street begging," Dr Koroivueta said.

"We have categorised them and, in fact, more than 50 per cent of them are from Saint Giles Hospital. Some of the beggars who are mentally-challenged have been rejected by their families."

Dr Koroivueta said the taskforce was determined to look for a proper rehabilitation facility where the mentally-challenged and homeless could be cared for and provided with food, medical care and treatment.

"Following the profiling exercise, some of the beggars who didn't have a place to stay have been placed in HART homes and Saint Vincent De Paul home.

"Some NGOs have shown goodwill to help out where there is a need."

Dr Koroivueta said there are also plans to provide vocational training and employment opportunities for able-bodied beggars.

"It is seen that some of them resort to begging to buy food and pay rent.