FEATURE: Homeless find temporary home amid COVID
Stay at home. A constant reminder for all in the midst of a global pandemic due to the dreaded coronavirus disease or simply known as COVID-19.
But for a homeless, where is home?
Recently, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) lauded Catholic schools in Manila for opening their doors and sharing a piece of ‘home’ to the homeless.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Manila’s apostolic administrator, said more Catholic schools have opened their facilities for the street dwellers.
As the pandemic continues, Pabillo said that the homeless can take refuge in the schools, especially during the enhanced community quarantine period in Metro Manila and the whole of Luzon.
The Malate Catholic School, Espiritu Santo Parochial School and the Holy Trinity Academy have opened their doors for the street dwellers.
The Bishop assured the public and students that all necessary precautions were taken to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We strictly follow the requirements of the Department of Health and the World Health Organization,” said Pabillo.
The bishop also said that the SVD-run Arnold Janssen Kalinga Center is coordinating the transfer of the homeless to their schools where they can be taken care of.
“The center and its volunteers provide for the basic needs of those who are taking shelter at the said schools,” he added.
The Paco Catholic School also accommodated several homeless families under the care of Fr. Luke Mortgart.
Earlier, dozens of homeless people sought refuge at the campuses of the De La Salle University, its sister school College of Saint Benilde, and the St. Scholastica’s College in Manila.
Aside from caring for the street dwellers, Pabillo said that the Nazarene Catholic School will also accommodate the healthcare workers from San Lazaro Hospital.
“We laud this gesture of our school directors to provide quarters to the homeless and street dwellers, and health workers where they can be safe and secure,” Pabillo said.
Being homeless is first and foremost a poverty issue that disproportionately affects a number of Metro Manila families and individuals. With the service of providing basic shelter in time when government implements strict isolation measures, these schools hope to support these families and individuals achieve well-being and, perhaps, self-sufficiency until everything goes back to normal. (PIA-NCR)