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Chiang Been-Huang, Minister of Health and Welfare, Conducts Evening Visits with the Homeless in Preparation for the Upcoming Cold Front

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2014-12-17
  • Last Updated:2017-01-11

The Central Weather Bureau has recently announced that a cold front is expected to cause temperature drops. To reinforce services for the homeless, Chiang Been-Huang, Minister of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, visited some homeless people at 10:00 pm on Tuesday, December 16th together with Deputy Minister Tseng Chung-Ming; Li Mei-Zhen, Director of the Department of Social Affairs and Social Welfare; and Hou You-Yi, Deputy Mayor of New Taipei City. The visits took place at locations where homeless people often gather, namely the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City, the Monga Park in Taipei City, and two homeless shelters in Taipei City’s Wanhua District. The objectives of the visits were to show concern for the homeless and ensure that adequate services were provided in preparation for the upcoming cold front. Minister Chiang stated that local governments have prepared a total of 3,476 pieces of winter clothing, 1,878 sleeping bags, and 11,670 heat pads that will be donated to the homeless as preparation for the upcoming cold front. As of December 16th, 2014, hot meals have been prepared for 1,693, warm clothing for 1,142, and shelters for 224 persons. 

Last night, social workers from Social Welfare Departments of Taipei City and New Taipei City Governments conducted visits together with private social welfare groups, arranging for homeless people to move into shelters or temporary housing as preparation for the upcoming cold front. Winter clothing and additional supplies were provided to those who did not wish to register for shelters. Statistics of the Ministry of Health and Welfare show that as of the end of September 2014, 3,034 homeless people were registered in local government records, among which 616 were accommodated in an approved shelter. Currently, 114 approved shelters are available nationwide, collectively achieving a capacity of 1,400 beds. To elevate services for the homeless, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has encouraged private social welfare groups to participate in caring for the homeless. In 2014, a total of NT$20 million was used to subsidize 68 counseling and service projects held by 18 private social welfare groups across 16 counties and cities. Among the 68 projects, 10 were related to extreme cold weather prevention, where evening visits were conducted and relevant supplies and hot meals were provided. 

To improve services for the homeless during cold fronts, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has established the Enhanced Services Project for the Homeless During Extreme Cold Weather and the Winter Holidays. To assist the homeless during winter, local government units have collaborated with social welfare groups in various jurisdictions to care for the homeless. In addition, police departments have increased the number of patrols and enhanced report mechanisms, and any homeless people in poor health will be sent to hospitals or shelters. Minister Chiang has advised hospitals affiliated with the Ministry of Health and Welfare to highlight medical care for homeless people admitted because of the extreme cold. Minister Chiang has also instructed the Department of Social Affairs and Social Welfare to supervise local governments in assessing and utilizing indoor public facilities such as community centers and gymnasiums as additional shelters for homeless people who do not wish to register for homeless shelters.