Homeless people deserve to be catered for

June 8, 2015, 1:31pm

Homeless people deserve to be catered for

Last week’s reports that a homeless man died of the cold is a clear sign that as a country we need to have a relook on our poverty alleviation strategies.
While it is unfortunate that a Namibian died from the freezing temperatures that are associated with winter, it is even more painful reality that we can never ignore that there are many Namibians out there who cannot put food on the table for their children.
 There are some Namibians out there who cannot afford to have a roof on top of their heads. This is a painful reality and it needs to be dealt with.
In this time when the President having appointed a minister responsible for combating poverty, homelessness should have been Minister Zephania Kameeta’s priority. He should dig in his heels and make sure cases of this nurture do not occur ever again.
 Other Ministries that were created have already hit the ground running. The Minister of Rural and Urban Development Sophia Shaaningwa has already started making manoeuvres, the Minister of Health Dr Bernard Haufiku has taken it upon himself to operate patients that do not have access to good health facilities.
This is a sign of a minister who is concerned about his portfolio. We need people in cabinet who are close to reality in the ground. Safely speaking it is very worrisome that the Minister of Poverty Alleviation Kameeta has not yet started going on the ground to acclimatise himself with the painful reality that some Namibians are sleeping in the cold.
He is the man we expect to come up with a plan where his ministry construct homes like soup kitchens in America. While in this country we have all the places that cater for homeless children, the aged and vulnerable women we have nothing to talk about when it comes to the homeless.
We need to construct these shelters as amateur of urgency. These are not necessarily shelters where people can go and live for the rest of their lives but are places where the homeless can go and find somewhere to put their head on the pillow.
It is very unforgivable to both the government and the Non-Governmental Organisations that a Namibian dies of the cold without shelter.
 Namibia has a small population of two million and is a rich country with an abundant natural resources. Why not use the money from these natural resources to develop these shelters and create homes for the homeless.
There are times when a spade has to be called a spade and the reality is that the Minister of Poverty alleviation needs to make his presence felt. He needs to come out of his skin more often and tell us what his plans for the next five years when it comes to thwarting poverty.
 He needs to tell us what his plan is when it comes to creating shelters for the homeless. We cannot be a rich country with all the resources and we work up occasionally reading banner headlines about people dying from the cold. These are some of the things that taint the image of the country internationally.