South Korea: Seoul's growing homeless brace for brutal winter

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 22 Nov 1998 22:44:04 -0400


--============_-1300333443==_ma============
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

http://www.scmp.com/news/template/Asia-Template.idc?artid=3D1998112002143603=
1&top=3D
asia&template=3DDefault.htx&maxfieldsize=3D2260
=46WD  South China Morning Post - Friday  November 20  1998

South Korea

SEOUL'S GROWING HOMELESS BRACE FOR BRUTAL WINTER

John Larkin in Seoul


Seoul is in a race against time to provide shelter for its growing
homeless population as Korea's brutal winter closes in on
thousands of unemployed citizens forced into a life on the
streets.

Early snowfall in the capital yesterday brought home the urgency
of moving the homeless citizens, who are mostly male victims of
the recession, into welfare shelters.

=46or months they have milled around Seoul's main train station
and a nearby park, but the city authorities have claimed some
success in moving hundreds into shelters run by welfare groups.

Others, though, refuse to leave. Many tolerate life on the streets
as, despite the shame, it gives them freedom they never had as
nine-to-five workers in a society that frowns on nonconformity.

They complain that staff at shelters make them leave early in the
morning and prohibit cigarettes and alcohol.

Though city officials say 500 men have left the station and
surrounding areas for shelters since September, others prefer to
remain despite the looming winter.

"All the Government wants to do is push us into these
warehouses," says Park Young-min, 45, who lost his job this
year.

"We have no freedom there. The people are extremely rude and
show no interest in us.

"It's bad enough that winter is closing in, but I refuse to be
treated like cattle. The Government sees us as pieces of luggage
to be shifted around, but we are people too and we've been hurt
by society."

The rise in homelessness is the direct result of soaring
unemployment from a worsening recession. The social safety net
has been reinforced but is still inadequate, leaving many no
choice but life on the streets.

A policeman at the train station yesterday expressed his concern
for the plight of the homeless.

"It is said this winter is going to be one of the worst in recent
years, so we're very worried about all the homeless people," he
told a Seoul newspaper.

Estimates vary on the number of homeless. Seoul city hall has
identified a few thousand at the most, but social workers dispute
this.

"I'm sure the city is only counting those people who are most
obviously homeless," said one social worker.

"I went to Seoul station recently and counted many more."

END FORWARD
-
** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page
ARCHIVES  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN
TO JOIN  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <wgcp@earthlink.n=
et>
--============_-1300333443==_ma============
Content-Type: text/enriched; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

http://www.scmp.com/news/template/Asia-Template.idc?artid=3D1998112002143603=
1&top=3Dasia&template=3DDefault.htx&maxfieldsize=3D2260

=46WD  South China Morning Post - Friday  November 20  1998


<paraindent><param>right,left</param>South Korea=20


SEOUL'S GROWING HOMELESS BRACE FOR BRUTAL WINTER


John Larkin in Seoul=20

</paraindent>


Seoul is in a race against time to provide shelter for its growing

homeless population as Korea's brutal winter closes in on

thousands of unemployed citizens forced into a life on the

streets.


Early snowfall in the capital yesterday brought home the urgency

of moving the homeless citizens, who are mostly male victims of

the recession, into welfare shelters.


=46or months they have milled around Seoul's main train station

and a nearby park, but the city authorities have claimed some

success in moving hundreds into shelters run by welfare groups.


Others, though, refuse to leave. Many tolerate life on the streets

as, despite the shame, it gives them freedom they never had as

nine-to-five workers in a society that frowns on nonconformity.


They complain that staff at shelters make them leave early in the

morning and prohibit cigarettes and alcohol.


Though city officials say 500 men have left the station and

surrounding areas for shelters since September, others prefer to

remain despite the looming winter.


"All the Government wants to do is push us into these

warehouses," says Park Young-min, 45, who lost his job this

year.


"We have no freedom there. The people are extremely rude and

show no interest in us.


"It's bad enough that winter is closing in, but I refuse to be

treated like cattle. The Government sees us as pieces of luggage

to be shifted around, but we are people too and we've been hurt

by society."


The rise in homelessness is the direct result of soaring

unemployment from a worsening recession. The social safety net

has been reinforced but is still inadequate, leaving many no

choice but life on the streets.


A policeman at the train station yesterday expressed his concern

for the plight of the homeless.


"It is said this winter is going to be one of the worst in recent

years, so we're very worried about all the homeless people," he

told a Seoul newspaper.


Estimates vary on the number of homeless. Seoul city hall has

identified a few thousand at the most, but social workers dispute

this.


"I'm sure the city is only counting those people who are most

obviously homeless," said one social worker.


"I went to Seoul station recently and counted many more."


END FORWARD

-

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is=
 distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in=
 receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. *=
*


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink=
=2Enet>

--============_-1300333443==_ma============--