Association acts to seek solution to the problems of the homeless

After the successful launch of a programme which helps homeless people find somewhere to stay in Baar, it is hoped to extend the scheme to the city of Zug.

While it is hardly believable, even in the wealthy canton of Zug there are people who are homeless, a fact of which Bernhard Tobler of Neuheim (photograph) is only too well aware. The 70-year-old, who used to sit on the board of the KJBZ children’s and young people’s advisory service, said how the various municipalities in the canton insisted there were no homeless people there. “However, we know this is not the case,” he said, and duly helped set up the “Beds for the Homeless” project, initially in Baar, as mentioned.

This project, led by three volunteers, has been renting out a flat in Baar and making it available to people who are homeless, enabling three people to take advantage of this, as the former pharmacist explained. The idea behind the project is also to help provide the inmates lead a more structured life, help them into a job and hence re-integrate them into society. “Helping them in these areas has contributed much to the scheme’s success,” he said, as he explained how they are given support by streetworkers and others up to three times a week.

Now, as mentioned, it is hoped to extend the scheme to the city of Zug, hence they are looking for an appropriate flat or house, to accommodate up to four people, perhaps in an older type property.

Helping people who are homeless can be quite challenging, as very often they have a number of other problems, too, such as substance dependency or personality disorders, not to mention having difficulty in maintaining relationships with others. “This is why providing care is so important,” said Tobler, who added that this project was only minimally accepted by politicians and social authorities, who maintain such people need only to register themselves and social benefit will be provided.

“While this is true in theory, in reality things are a bit different,” said Tobler and cited the case of a person sleeping rough in Zug but who actually comes from a neighbouring part of the canton of Zurich, not here. “One cannot solve problems such as these through bureaucracy. Reason and humaneness are called for, after all, so many of these homeless people lack motivation and consider their situation to be without hope. These are situations we in society should recognise and act on,” he insisted.

But is all this not in competition with a project already planned in Zug to set up 25 emergency rooms for such people?
“Not at all,” replied Tobler, who explained that such emergency accommodation was only a temporary measure and all eleven municipalities in Zug are affected. “What needs to be done is for politicians to recognise the problem and do something by supporting us. As members of society, we owe this to those who make up our weakest members,” he concluded.     

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