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Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib receiving a souvenir from Chan Seong Aun. Pic by Muhd Zaaba Zakeria

KUALA LUMPUR: CITY Hall and Malaysia Institute of Architects (PAM) are calling on architects to participate in a contest to design a temporary shelter for the homeless.

Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said City Hall was looking at ways to provide shelter for the homeless.

“The homeless and vagrants have been a perennial problem for us. Their numbers keep growing because of migration from the rural areas.

“Our priority is to get them off the streets. That is why we need to plan and provide a proper shelter for them.

“We don’t want them to become a permanent fixture in the city,” he said.

Phesal said City Hall cannot use enforcement officers against the homeless all the time without tackling the root cause of the problem.

“If there are homeless families, we will offer them public housing units. If there are people working part-time in restaurants or other places, we will provide them with a temporary shelter where they can bathe and have a hot meal.”

There are about 3,200 homeless people in the city and they can be divided into several categories.

“Some cannot find homes due to cost, some have family problems and we also have those suffering from chronic illnesses such as AIDS.

“There are also people who were promised work but were left stranded,” he said, adding that there were many homeless illegal immigrants as well.

PAM president Chan Seong Aun said it was working with City Hall to give architects an opportunity to design the most innovative shelter.

“We hope architects, graduates and students will participate in the contest,” said Chan.

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