Sibu Safe Transit Haven benchmark for similar centres in Kuching, Bintulu, Miri

Fatimah (centre) handing over STH Sibu mock key to Wong (second right).

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By William Isau

SIBU, Jan 28: The commissioning of Safe Transit Haven (STH) here has been described as a dream come true by Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.

Speaking at the launching ceremony today, she said the opening of STH Sibu is historical and marks the benchmark for upcoming STH in Kuching, Bintulu and Miri.

“History is created today with the establishment of STH Sibu.

“Our dream has become a reality thanks to the Chief Minister and the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government for approving this project,” she said.

From Dec 6, 2021 to Jan 26, 2022, STH Sibu has registered 17 homeless individuals but five of them only had brief stays before they went back to their families.

Another two had found themselves jobs and accommodation provided by their employers while two more left voluntarily.

The idea of the centre which can accommodate up to 40 individuals, comprising 20 men and 20 women came from former Sibu Resident Charles Siaw, said Fatimah.

“We are able to have this centre today as the former Resident gave us the green light to convert the former Maksak House. Then, we have the money but no place. So we are forever grateful to him,” she said.

The ministry has identified a total of 158 homeless individuals Statewide as of December 2021. Bintulu ranks the highest with 48 homeless followed by Kuching (31), Sibu (28), Miri (24) and the rest in other towns.

According to survey, 38 per cent of people become homeless due to family problems, 33 per cent because of mental health problems, 12 per cent have no place to stay, 10 per cent are alcoholic, five per cent are jobless and the remaining two per cent due to other reasons.

Also present at the launching ceremony was Sibu Resident Wong Hee Sieng. — Dayakdaily