By Noel Feliciano
For the past two years, we have welcomed 165 homeless people from the streets of Kalaw, Lowton, Perez, Canonigo to come live with us and help us help them write a new chapter in their lives.
The sad reality is that about 40% of the total number of homeless people whom we’ve admitted at the AJ Bahay Kalinga (BK) in Bagong Silang, Caloocan still preferred to return to life in the streets.
‘Come and see’
The desire for so-called unstructured ‘personal freedom’ remains strong for some.
There they continue to struggle with all sorts of vices, including drugs, smoking, and drinking, sometimes even negatively influencing their peers to resist change for the good.
Thus, a recent update includes the approach of the “Come and See” Program, a pre-admission program where street dwellers can live in BK for 3-5 days to experience the actual life with us.
Saying yes to a new life
We ask them questions and discover their insights to determine if they are committed to personal change.
Since kicking off the program in December 2021, three batches with 34 participants have spent time with us.
Ten of them are now Batch 5 residents of BK. We’re hopeful that more people will decide to stay and say yes to a new life in BK.
From acceptance to send-off
Another recent update is that we’ve clarified the program direction for every resident.
The staff has designed a program flow that provides concrete steps in dealing with individual residents.
Today, we have measures and criteria to decide whether to accept new individuals, move them up to graduation and send-off.
All these requirements are based on the Kalinga values and culture.
The work is big, but our hearts are bigger!
Everything is a work in humble progress.