Removing obstacles to employment for homeless people should take priority over requiring them to be in stable employment, National Taiwan University social work professor Cheng Li-chen (鄭麗珍) said yesterday at a conference discussing the services provided for and needed by homeless people, adding that policies that actively reach out to and reintegrate groups into communities are important.
There are currently between 3,000 and 4,000 homeless people in Taiwan, but because the legal definition for homelessness is hazy and determined on a city or county basis, with some local authorities considering people with living relatives not to be homeless, the number is probably an underestimation, Cheng said.
“Compared with the complete special acts dedicated to matters concerning homeless people in Japan and South Korea, the nation’s regulations concerning homeless people is a single article under the Public Assistance Act [社會救助法]” that allows for the municipality, county or city competent authorities to specify the regulations for the shelter and assistance of homeless people, he said.
According to Cheng’s survey, most of the homeless people in the country are male and aged above 45, with the age group from 55 to 64 being the largest.
Seventy-four percent of the respondents said they live on the street and more than half of them had done so for more than three years, “two facts indicating that Taiwanese homeless are long-term street people,” Cheng said.
“A majority of those who have lived in shelters are not willing to go back, complaining about their strict rules and the remoteness of the locations,” Cheng said, adding that as they have problem finding non-temporary jobs, renting a place is almost out of question without social benefits.
Cheng also said that more than half of the respondents said that they had served at least one term in prison.
“This raises the issue of how former convicts can be assisted to obtain long-term employment and return to community life,” he said.
Obstacles to employment for homeless people include the inability to open a bank account, as many of them have a poor credit history and no registered residential address, Cheng said.
Shortening the time people live on the street, helping homeless people overcome obstacles to employment and having the group, including former convicts, interact with and return to the community all require the person to have residential details, Cheng said, adding that the government should develop social residence programs that are tailored to their needs.
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with