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Warm shelter for the homeless in Hanoi

Thirty-nine homeless people enjoyed their Tet at the Hanoi Center for Social Affairs and Children Protection.

In the 2023 Tet holiday, as in the previous ones, homeless people in Hanoi, especially those unexpectedly forced to stay in the capital to earn a living, are well taken care of to have joyful celebrations even without a home.

Homeless people enjoy meals during Tet at the Hanoi Center for Social Affairs and Children Protection. Photo: Tran Oanh/The Hanoi Times

Tran Cong Chinh, 60, a resident of An Phu Commune, Quynh Phu District, Thai Binh Province, came to Hanoi in December 2022 to work as a construction worker.

He was promised a salary of VND350,000 (US$15) daily, and the contractor provided room and board for him on the construction site.

Chinh and his colleagues were also told they would be paid three days before the end of the lunar year.

However, the contractor disappeared that day, and Chinh had to spend the rest of the lunar year homeless.

"On Lunar New Year's Eve, I was invited to come to the Center for Social Affairs and Child Protection for Tet," he said.

"It's lucky for me to be here. If it wasn't for the center staff who found me, I might have been wandering the roads without money or food."

Like Chinh, La Van Hao, 24, from Chieng Ken Commune, Van Ban District, Lao Cai Province, and a friend arrived in Hanoi two months ago.

The two also worked as painters and were promised a monthly pay of VND9 million each.

But they had worked for free in the last two months until the contractor disappeared without any explanation, just two days before Lunar New Year.

Since then, Hao had been wandering without money and belongings, asking for free food and sleeping under the bridges until the center staff found him.

Chinh and Hao were among 39 homeless people brought to the Hanoi Center for Social Affairs and Children Protection to celebrate the Tet festival.

All of the homeless had to stay in the quarantine area for a week to test and prevent the spread of potential diseases.

They all slept in a room with a cozy, well-made bed and were served well-prepared food. Their stay lasted five days, from December 29 to Lunar January 3.

During Tet, Chinh and the others were visited by the center's vice director and enjoyed singing, sports, and other activities.

Pham Thi Thanh Huong, head of the center's Health and Care Department, stated that the center provided VND100,000 per day to each homeless person, five times more than the allowance granted last year, so their meals and living conditions improved quite a lot.

Nguyen Hong Dan, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, stated that local divisions in the city's 30 districts and towns had taken measures to strengthen the management of homeless people.

"In 15 days, from the first day to the first full moon of the lunar new year, we local authorities will strengthen our administration in temple areas, pagodas, and popular places to prevent homeless people from begging," he said.

"We will return them to local centers for social affairs and child protection to help others better enjoy Tet without problems and hassles."

The action by the centers, the Hanoi Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, and local authorities aims to prevent beggars and fake vagrants from littering the city.