The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) aims to achieve zero street families by end of the year, the reason why the Department is intensifying the convergence of its three programs, in partnership with civil society organizations (CSO) and the 17 local government units (LGUs) in the National Capital Region.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said during a recent press briefing that “DSWD targets to clear the thoroughfares of homeless street families and help them access better lives, hopefully by year end.”

With this, DSWD continues to respond to the needs of the street families through the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program (MCCT) for Homeless Families (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 2,311 homeless families assisted in Metro Manila.

From streets to new homes, livelihood

Aside from the cash grants and house rental aid, beneficiaries are provided with cash for work and are given access to livelihood opportunities.

Tatay Leonides, one beneficiary of the program, said, “Dati nakatira kami sa kalye sa Brgy. South Triangle, at taga-bantay lang paminsan-minsan sa tindahan ng ibang tao. Ngayon, meron na kaming bahay, may sarili pang sari-sari store (Before, we used to live on the street of Brgy. South Triangle, and I used to tend the stores of other people to earn a little money.  Because of MCCT, we now have a home and our own sari-sari store.)”

Violy Espiritu, another beneficiary shared, “Mula sa kalye, nabigyan kami ng bahay at nakakapag-aral na ang aking mga anak. Malaking tulong talaga ang MCCT sa amin (From the streets, we were able to have our own home, and my children now go to school.  MCCT is really a big help to us).”

Violy and her family used to call the stretch of NIA Road, Quezon City as their home.

In addition to the MCCT, the DSWD-National Capital Region also launched last May, the Oplan Balik Bahay, Sagip Buhay project which focuses on street children and street families in the Metropolis.

Under this project, around 3,500 street families in Manila and Quezon City are targeted to receive comprehensive assistance to get them off the streets. They will be provided with assistance on education, health, housing, and livelihood to transform them into productive members of society.

DSWD also continuously implements its Comprehensive Program for Street Children and Street Families.

From 2011-2013, the comprehensive program has assisted 3,491 street children in going to school.

In the program, Sec. Soliman cited the role of LGUs, saying that they are the first responders by leading in the reach out and profiling of street dwellers.

The Secretary also appealed to all sectors in society, including the media and the general public, to contribute in addressing the problem of street dwellers.

“Let us do right for the street dwellers.  When you see street families or street children, do not give them alms.  It only encourages them to stay on the streets.  Report immediately to the right authorities like the LGUs, DSWD, and/or other government agencies,” Sec. Soliman explains.

Sec. Soliman said that the initial gains of these programs to improve the lives of the likes of Violy and Tatay Leonides indicate that government resources have been put to good use.

For sightings of street families, the public may report via the twitter account @savestreetkids managed by the DSWD-NCR for reach out and other interventions.