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Homeless people increasing, age decreasing: Taipei officials

Homeless people increasing, age decreasing: Taipei officials

Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) The Department of Social Welfare (DSW) under the Taipei city government said Tuesday that the economic downturn has led to more people becoming homeless, many of whom are younger people, which requires a change in the nature of the department's work and an increased budget.
According to Chung Pei-chen, a section chief of the Division of Social Work under the DSW, there are more vagrants in the capital than there were three years ago, with the average age having dropped.
She noted that there were around 300 homeless people in Taipei City three years ago, most of whom were aged between 50 and 60.
The number has increased to 500, she went on, adding that the number of homeless people in their 40s still capable of working has increased.
"Therefore, the task of our division has turned from lodging homeless people to encouraging them to earn their own livings and helping them find employment, " Chung told CNA, adding that the task is not easy, especially with the high unemployment rate.
The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics reported that Taiwan's unemployment rate had soared to 4.64 percent as of November, representing 507,000 jobless people.
As the number of homeless people increases, the problem of a lack of social workers and budget has emerged, said Chung.
She added that the only two reception centers for homeless people in Taipei have only 113 beds and that her agency is trying to map out plans to help lodge other homeless people, which might require several million dollars, while last year, her section had only NT$700,000 to spend on issues related to the homeless.
"Building another reception center is almost impossible because of pressure from the public," she said.
Chung said her unit began regular visits to homeless people in Taipei City this year in mid-November when temperatures began to drop.
(By Emmanuelle Tzeng)




Updated : 2020-12-04 00:55 GMT+08:00