Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
The economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus outbreak in Malta and the global pandemic has brought hardships to many with inequalities further coming to light in such a context. Newsbook.com.mt interviewed Anthony Camilleri CEO at YMCA.
YMCA is currently seeking out past vulnerable residents who have left the shelter and are living within the community, Camilleri replied to Newsbook.com.mt when asked whether they have seen an increase in requests.
A second home
Camilleri explained that the more the current situation persists the more requests for assistance they would expect to see.
So far rather than seeking a spike in requests for help, the organisation has been proactively seeking out individuals who were previously residing at the shelter and have gone back to live independently in the community.
Camilleri voiced the organisation’s concerns that if the current situation persist, the individuals might no longer be independent. He noted that some landlords have slashed rents for the tenants. However some individuals remain without an income due to lack of work.
A second home will welcome fourteen people, Camilleri explained. He said that as precautionary measure the organisation will have a second residence for those individuals who in the past sought assistance from non-governmental organisations working with the homeless. Asked for a date when the home would open, Camilleri explained that the date has been fixed and that potential residents were being quarantined and tested for coronavirus prior to being accepted into the home.
He also highlighted that their work became more challenging as they seek the best approach to meet new individuals without putting staff or residents at risk. Camilleri remarked that they were experiencing difficulties to communicate with the people due to the need to keep one’s distance.
Loneliness Response Line
Camilleri explained that as an organisation they launched a Loneliness Response Line on 23 March. The line is aimed at those who are currently stuck at home and have experienced loneliness due to the current situation.
The general public has been urged to remain home, while a segment of the population those aged over 65 and others considered to be vulnerable have been asked to stay home and avoid going out. The new regulations which aim at curbing the spread of the virus had various repercussions on different aspects of one’s life including the economic and the social.
Camilleri explained that they were receiving about ten calls a day on the helpline of individuals who are reaching out and who need to speak to someone.
Those who are feeling lonely or isolated can reach out to the organisation by texting one’s mobile or phone number on 99928625 and one of the team members will call you.
How you can help
Asked whether the general public can help the organisation with its work, Camilleri spoke about Never an Empty Plate initiative. Companies, establishments and individuals can donate any tinned food, raw meats or fruit and vegetables to the organisation. This food will help those who are at the risk of poverty.
The public can also donate money towards the organisation.
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