AN estimated 100 homeless people in Harare have been moved to centres on the outskirts of the city as part of measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring this highly vulnerable group has shelter.
The people are being accommodated in Mt Hampden, Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre and Jamaica Inn.
Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana confirmed the development on his twitter handle.
“As part of social protection of the vulnerable, Government through the Department of Social Services, moved hundreds of homeless males to Mt Hampden, dozens of boys living and working on the streets to Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre and females are accommodated at Jamaica Inn during the lockdown,” Mr Mangwana said.
The relocation of the homeless people is part of measures that have been adopted by Government to mitigate the plight of vulnerable groups.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima also confirmed the development, adding that the homeless were at high risk of contracting Covid-19 since they lack sanitary resources required to fight the devastating disease.
“In Harare, we have established three centres where we are housing these homeless people so that they have somewhere they can call a home,” he said.
“We have identified a training institute for the Ministry of Youth in Mount Hampden where we have moved in those who are in families. At Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre we have taken in boys who are below 18.
“At Jamaica Inn along Mutare Road, we have taken in women above 18 and we are also going to put in girls. So, we have about 42 going to the boy’s facility, 45 coming in as families and six women at Jamaica Inn.”
Prof Mavima had told the Department of Social Welfare to look for more such facilities across the country to house the homeless.
The ministry was using its current budget, but would need more funding from Government since Covid-19 is a national health emergency.
Blankets, clothing and mattresses for the shelter homes are available and more are expected from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra). Prohibited and smuggled goods, including blankets, are seized by Zimra and can be disposed of by auction or any approved way.
Said Prof Mavima: “We are taking the homeless people from the streets in the fight against Covid-19. We are doing something. We are using funds from our current budget and I know we will get something from Treasury soon since this is a national disaster. Homeless people in Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and across the country should be placed in shelters where they can be monitored.”
Government has set aside over $600 million to cover one million vulnerable households under a cash transfer programme for the next three months.
The funds will be distributed through the structures of the Department of Social Welfare.
Treasury has also provided $500 million to fight Covid-19 and is ready to attend to more requests.
A further $50 million was provided to Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) to prepare for Covid-19 and to cater for the health requirements of civil servants who are the majority of the Society’’s members.
To enhance preparedness to fight coronavirus and guided by the United Nations Covid-19 Medical Supplies, Treasury has suspended duty and tax on various goods and services related to testing, protection, sterilisation, and other medical consumables.
Government has also unfrozen over 4 000 health sector posts and created an additional 200 medical posts with a view of scaling up the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Covid-19 National Disaster Fund has also been established to enable well-wishers donate towards the fight against the disease.