To help address the prevalence of homeless families in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has engaged the support of public and private academic institutions in the metropolis for the implementation of its project called Oplan Balik Bahay, Sagip Buhay (OBBSB).
OBBSB aims to address the prevalence of street dwellers in the major thoroughfares in NCR, particularly in the cities of Manila and Quezon through the provision of a package of services designed to meet the needs of the beneficiaries and to keep families and their children out of the streets.
Under the OBBSB, DSWD is targeting a total of 3,500 street families to be removed from the streets and who shall receive a package of educational, health, shelter, and livelihood assistance in preparation for their community reintegration.
Earlier this month, DSWD through its Field Office-NCR gathered around 235 representatives from various academic institutions around the cities of Manila and Quezon. They were oriented on the current status of homelessness in these two areas and on the Department’s ongoing implementation of OBBSB and the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF).
The MCCT-HSF is an expansion of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which provides a complete package of assistance to street families, including responsive shelter program, access to social services, and economic opportunities for the improvement of their living conditions. It also extends house rental assistance of up to P4,000 per month for six months to one year.
To date, there are a total of 2,586 beneficiaries of the MCCT-HSF in NCR.
During the activity, the participants expressed their commitment to help the Department by conducting feeding programs and community activities, monitoring of MCCT-students in their schools, and raising awareness, among others.
Among the academic institutions represented during the orientation were the University of Santo Tomas, Lyceum of the Philippines, St. John’s Academy, Philippine Normal University, Arellano University, St. Jude College, National Teacher’s College, as well as public schools.
DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that addressing the concerns of homeless families cannot be handled solely by the Department, and that DSWD continues to coordinate with various stakeholders such as the academe to solidify convergence in the implementation of projects for the sector.
The Secretary also urged the public to report sightings of street children/street dwellers to the DSWD Twitter Account, @savestreetkids, for rescue, profiling, assessment and subsequent provision of appropriate interventions.