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€1 a day keeps shelter troubles at bay

A euro a day for 365 days a year will go a long way to keeping YMCA's Dar Niki Cassar shelter going... provided 365 benefactors chip in.

YMCA will be launching a campaign entitled '365' in a bid to ensure one of Malta's homeless havens can continue to provide a service.

"If this campaign is successful, we would have managed to plug a hole in YMCA's pocket. Without this money, we're going to have serious financial problems," YMCA chairman Jean Paul Mifsud said.

Should it prove successful, YMCA would have raised €133,000 - enough to finance the home in full. The government provides €11,647 (Lm5,000) directly towards the operation of the shelter. Some 21 individuals, including a single mother with a newborn together with a young pregnant woman, are currently residing at the shelter.

Mr Mifsud said the money was not merely required to provide the homeless with a shelter, but to make sure they also get the required professional services during their stay there.

"Abused people have to live with their problems. It's not enough to give them shelter, you need to give these people attention, inform them and lead them to the opportunities out there. The vast majority have to deal with rejection. We have cases of domestic violence, abused children and families evicted from their homes. In most cases this shelter is the last resort for these social cases," Mr Mifsud explained.

Dar Niki Cassar is considered a success story for the YMCA, with 70 per cent of those seeking help eventually managing to rebuild the blocks of their life.

Open since 2003, Dar Niki Cassar houses an average of 77 people a year, from newborns to 80-year-olds.

YMCA is forced to refuse another 100 or so individuals a year because of lack of space or because they are not socially compatible to stay there.

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