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Charity, hotels team up to help homeless youngsters in SH

2014-12-30 09:02 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

A 13-year-old boy from Chongming County recently became the first in the city to take advantage of a new scheme to provide temporary shelter for homeless young people.

Run by the nongovernmental Shanghai Sunshine Community Youth Affairs Center, in association with Pod Inn hotels, the program is designed to offer safe haven to teens and young adults aged up to 25.

Project chief Wu Zhihui said it was launched in response to calls from neighborhood committees that a growing number of juveniles across the city were being neglected.

Under the program, young people will be able to stay for up to five days at any of 35 Pod Inn hotels. As well as being provided with food and a place to sleep, they will be able to talk to volunteers from the project about their problems.

The volunteers will in turn speak to parents or guardians to help with dispute mediation and, if necessary, begin legal proceedings against them.

Wu said the project will run on a trial basis for six months, and if successful will likely be rolled out across the city.

The first person to benefit from the scheme was 13-year-old Xiaowu (not his real name), who was taken to a Pod Inn on Saturday after being found roaming the streets.

According to a report yesterday by Youth Daily, the child told volunteers from Chongming County that he had run away from home after being beaten by his father.

His parents were divorced, he said, adding that he had survived since the age of 10 by begging on the street.

The child had also stopped going to school and was generally neglected by his father, the report said.

The Shanghai Sunshine Community Youth Affairs Center said it will contact local authorities to help the boy get back to school.

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