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Media: The Star Online


Section: News

YOUTHS have banded together to help homeless people in Kuala Lumpur get food, shelter and jobs. 


Those living on the streets are first interviewed to get their personal particulars and find out how they ended up homeless before assistance is rendered to them. 


A roof over their heads is also provided in a shelter for those who want it and are qualified for it.


There is also a plan to provide interested and capable individuals with skills training to eventually help them land jobs.


As these are not possible with only manpower help, a foundation has joined in to provide the most vital funding to make these tasks a success.


Care Shelter Kuala Lumpur located in Chow Kit was set up in 2020 to provide lodging for nearby homeless folk during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


Its founder and director Adzarul Buqary Abu Bakar, 27, said the place began as a capsule hotel in 2019 for backpackers.


“When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and borders were closed, the number of guests dried up and I struggled to keep the place going.


“At the same time, I saw many homeless people congregating nearby, some of whom had lost their job,” he said.


This made Adzarul decide to turn the 2,000sq ft space into a shelter for the homeless in the Chow Kit area.


He, however, noted that only those with a valid MyKad could stay at the shelter. Adzarul added that the venue had housed 30 people in the past and it regularly accepted newcomers.


“We often go out to meet the homeless and ask if they are interested to sign up as a resident here.


“In the first two weeks, they will undergo behavioural evaluation and can stay up to three months,” he said.


For Adzarul, the shelter gave the homeless an alternative place to stay, compared to the ones run by the government authorities.


“Many of these people tend to have a history of mental illness and involvement in criminal activities.


“As a result, they are reluctant to open up to the authorities out of fear of enforcement and legal action.


“But they don’t see me as an authority, which allows me to get closer and connect with them on a human level,” he said.


Adzarul added that the shelter was a pilot project and that there were plans to expand a similar initiative nationwide in the future.



Corporate support


Adzarul said for now the shelter was only to provide a temporary accommodation for homeless men.


Plans were afoot to partner with tertiary institutions to provide skills training for the residents.


“Our aim is to help them get a job to be able to support themselves,” he said.


Adzarul thanked CIMB Foundation for supporting the initiative by providing the much-needed funds.


He hoped the foundation would continue to participate in the shelter’s future programmes.


CIMB Foundation chief executive officer Rafe Haneef, in a statement to StarMetro, said the foundation agreed to provide about RM179,000 to the shelter.


This amount, he noted, was for one year starting from last October, to cover the facility upgrades and daily expenses.


“The upgrades include buying new furniture such as wardrobe, air-conditioning units and mattresses, as well as bathroom renovation.


“We hope this effort will help improve the lives of the needy,” he said, adding that this was CIMB Foundation’s first involvement with a homeless shelter.


Rafe said the foundation had disbursed over RM165mil through nearly 1,300 community projects since its inception 15 years ago.



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