Glimmer of Hope for the Homeless in Johor Bahru

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Group photo of Johor MB with the current residents of Anjung Singgah under the National Welfare Foundation (YKN) Johor Bahru

State government to fully support by aiding the less fortunate and homeless people residing in JB town at the Anjung Kasih Homeless Shelter

Ruined and abused by the people they love or the people they trust, the homeless in Johor Bahru did not end up in their current situation by choice or not all of them in fact.

Some were seeking refuge from domestic abuse or bad debts with money lenders. Others were conned by sly and slick employment agents who left their clients high and dry while they ran off with the monies they have collected from charging a fee for their service.

For most of the homeless, a series of unfortunate events have uncovered a whole new life setting for them – nothing that they had ever imagined, for sure. Even for the drug addicts or alcoholics, their habits may have stemmed from a past trauma or just a coping mechanism to keep themselves hovering slightly above rock bottom.

“The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that there is only one way to go, which is up,” a popular quote frequently used by motivational speakers to uplift the spirit of the people who have taken a swan dive into an unfortunate happenstance.

The homeless dilemma has been one that’s quite impossible to overcome around the world where just randomly unique people seem to force themselves to adapt and be comfortable with sleeping under the stars and next to a dumpster – great view and an endless supply of food, albeit the situation. Currently in Malaysia, the Federal government has taken baby steps into tackling the noticeable rise in the population of vagrants.

For instance, the National Welfare Foundation (YKN) under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry have established 5 (centres) Homeless Shelters called Anjung Singgah throughout the country located in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Pulau Pinang, Perak, and Johor Bahru. The one in Johor Bahru can accommodate up to 94 beds, 64 males and 18 females at one time.

The shelter in Johor Bahru is unique to the other centres as it also caters to the unfortunate scam victims who were looking for life changing opportunities across the causeway.

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Sahrudin handing over some goodies to the shelter residents

Starting with a maximum of 14 days first stay after registration, the homeless person will try his/her best to get a job on their own or with assistance from the centre itself. The centre is in contact with around 40 to 50 employers who are willing to give these homeless people a second chance.

Besides providing the basic necessity of shelter to the homeless, Anjung Singgah centres also serves food and sustenance to the temporary residents, sponsored by local NGOs or corporate contributors. Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Award (IMSHA) winners such as The Red Crescent Association, Kechara Soup Kitchen, Wakaf An-Nur, and Ihsan Johor are among the NGOs whom have contributed to this cause.

The shelter, despite having a sombre ambience of gloom and doom still has its bright days coming when ex-residents who have found a new calling to life come back to contribute and pay back the good faith that they have been bestowed upon before.

The thing is with kindness is that it doesn’t take much to pay it forward.

Recently, the Johor Menteri Besar, Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal paid a visit to Anjung Kasih YKN Johor Bahru to handover some happy bags to uplift the spirit of the residents while enjoying supper with them.

“The state government is in full support to aid and assist the unfortunate homeless people who want to make a change for themselves. We will also discuss the possibility of the government subsidising a new premise for Anjung as we know that their lease will end in Jan 2020,” said Dr Sahruddin.

In conjunction with the recent Hari Raya festive season, the coordinators of the shelter had arranged haircuts and collected Raya clothes to be handed to the residents.

Anjung Singgah YKN Homeless Shelters will only accept clean and sober people, or the ones who are seeking for a direction of change. As for the vagrants who are addicted to controlled substances or alcohol, other agencies such as the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) will assist to clean up the act before proceeding to the next temporary step at Anjung Singgah.

For more information or for contribution details, please visit http://www.yknm.org/ or the Anjung Kasih YKN Homeless Shelter at JB town.