DSWD facilitates steady source of income for homeless families

Some 1,000 street families from the cities of Manila and Quezon who are beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program for Homeless Families (MCCT-HSF) now have a sustainable source of income as legal vendors after they were listed as recipients of Kabuhayan Folded Carts (KFC).

Twenty five families received their carts over the weekend during the ceremonial turnover at the Plaza Salamanca along Kalaw Street in Manila City. The turnover of KFC was part of the 3rd Founding Anniversary of the Ermita-Manila Business Owners’ Association (EMBOA) which is one of the partners of the DSWD in this endeavor.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman led the turnover ceremony with EMBOA officials headed by its president, Michell Pe. Staff of the Manila Department of Social Welfare and barangay officials were also present.

The provision of KFC to MCCT-HSF beneficiaries is one of the components of the Oplan Balik Bahay Sagip Buhay (OBBSB) Project of the DSWD that envisions to attain zero incidence of children, unattached adults and families at risk on the streets in the cities of Quezon and Manila by December 2015.

OBBSB is a ten-month, from March-December 2015, project targeting primarily the 3,500 homeless families at risk on the streets in the two cities.

The project is designed to provide a more responsive need based intervention through provision of immediate shelter assistance while capacitating the family with a package of services towards reintegration and mainstreaming.

One strategy to be used by the DSWD to achieve this is by mobilizing and strengthening public and private partnership to address the concerns of the sector through convergence strategies especially at the barangay level.

Sec. Soliman said that the provision of KFC by selling food & non-food items will provide decent means for the family to earn a living.

In the the city of Manila, the families will be given free space at the Plaza Salamanca where they can set-up their folded carts.

As part of their responsibilities, the families should abide by the conditions such as: children shall not be engaged in street vending; families shall not be allowed to sleep in the area after vending during the allowed vending hours; families should maintain the cleanliness of the area; and, families should not alter the original design of the KFC.

As partner, the EMBOA shall provide and conduct training for the project-beneficiaries on marketing strategies, food handling and sanitation.

The LGU, on the other hand, shall conduct regular monitoring of the project and provide other capability building activities like sessions on Parent Effective Service (PES), Family Development Sessions, and other livelihood and skills trainings.

Existing task forces shall also be tapped in monitoring the project as well as in providing security and safety to the project-beneficiaries in the vending areas.

Melinda Esmeres, MCCT-HSF beneficiary said that she has been a sidewalk vendor for 16 years, and she now feels secure in having a steady source of livelihood.

“Matagal na akong nagtitinda dito sa Plaza Salamanca, dati ay takot ako sa huli, ngayon ay kampante na ang loob ko na may maayos na akong pagkakakitaan (I have been selling here at Plaza Salamanca for a long time. Before, I was scared to be caught by the police, but now I am assured of a permanent food stall).”

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Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.