Councilor: Build shelter for homeless, mentally ill people

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita May 14,2017 - 11:02 PM
A homeless man sleeps on the sidewalk in Cebu City in this 2016 photo. cdn file photo A homeless man took a nap along the street of Boromeo, Sancianco yesterday morning while a steet sign shows "Pls. Help Beautify Cebu" (CDN PHOTO/FERDINAND R. EDRALIN) (CDN PHOTO/FERDINAND R. EDRALIN)

A homeless man sleeps on the sidewalk in Cebu City in this 2016 photo.
cdn file photo
A homeless man took a nap along the street of Boromeo, Sancianco yesterday morning while a steet sign shows “Pls. Help Beautify Cebu”
(CDN PHOTO/FERDINAND R. EDRALIN)
(CDN PHOTO/FERDINAND R. EDRALIN)

With many mentally ill people on the streets and few facilities to cater to them, the Cebu City Council wants the city government to establish its own mental health institution.

In an approved resolution, the City Council is requesting the mayor’s office to appropriate an area and to allocate funds for the construction of a shelter of a mental health institution for the homeless and mentally ill individuals.

Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, who sponsored the resolution, said these mentally ill people are currently loitering the city’s streets.

“The proliferation of street dwellers and mendicants is one of the major problems of the City of Cebu. It is estimated that 20 to 25 percent of homeless people suffer from severe mental illness. Others estimate that up to one-third of the homeless suffer from severe mental illness,” read her resolution.

She suggested that the city-owned shelter for the mentally ill could be put up in the city-owned lot in the mountain barangay of Guba.

During the council’s regular session last week, Cebu City Councilor Margarita Osmeña questioned aspects of the proposal especially the practicality of having the shelter built in Barangay Guba, which is far from the city proper.

But Pesquera explained that it is okay to have the shelter built there because the city already has a satellite hospital in the same barangay.

Osmeña also asked for more details on the proposal like an actual and specific plan as to who will manage it.

Pesquera said that it could be done by the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) together with the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

“VSMMC already has a facility, but it is very small and they need a better place. If this will be implemented, it can be under the CCMC together with the VSMMC,” she said.

“Providing secure, long-term housing or shelter was seen as an essential first step to treating homeless people with severe mental illness by the previous members of the Cebu City Anti-Mendicancy Board (CCAMB),” read the resolution.

Pesquera used to be the head of the CCAMB during the previous administration. The VSMMC and its psychiatric ward officials were members of the CCAMB during that time.

As of now, the CCAMB has still not reconvened following the review on special bodies of Cebu City as instructed by Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

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TAGS: Build, councilor, for, homeless, ill, mentally, people, shelter
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