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Itoman sets program to assist homeless

Date Posted: 2009-07-23

Itoman City is joining several other Okinawan municipalities in establishing foundations to obtain funds that benefit homeless people until the government system helps them.

The city’s calling the new program ‘Connection Funds’, a means of aiding homeless people with immediate cash while paperwork for assistance works its way through government channels. Once the homeless receive benefits from the city or other government agencies, they repay the loans back into the fund. Itoman City began the project late last year, and is already aiding people.

The ‘connection funds’ program goal in Itoman City is ¥300,000, to be used as a rotating account. Itoman City says it will use the funds only to assist homeless.

Naha and Ginowan Cities have established similar programs, but say their aid and loans program extends to retirees in financial distress, as well as to homeless. Complicating and confusing the need for programs in most of Okinawa, officials say, is the fact that most homeless people are not Okinawans, but rather, people who’ve moved from mainland Japan to Okinawa Prefecture.

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