‘It is possible to provide twice as many places for the homeless’
If needed, the Ministry of Interior is ready to double the number of the places available for homeless people. Currently there are 10 thousand places ready to be used by those in need but there will be no underpasses opened. – said Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér in an interview. He also touched upon the changes in public employment, the preparation of the law enforcement organizations for the winter months and the second round of the consolidation of local governments.
The Minister stated that there is a possibility for everyone to receive proper care and to avoid freezing. He mentioned that in the coldest period of last year there were approximately 10 thousand people who needed shelter. The Disaster Management Authority was appointed to estimate further possibilities, as a result of which it can be stated that there is place for further 10-11 thousand homeless people, if needed.
According to the Minister of Interior NGOs should not start a “war of numbers” whether there are 10 thousand, 11 thousand or 300 homeless people. There will be as many places as needed. He also added that there will be a team of social workers, police men and ambulance officers responsible for finding a place for those who are affected by the problem.
It will also be possible to include homeless people in the system of public employment but there are some who do not wish or are not able to contribute. Minister Pintér stated that the system of public employment will change slightly during winter. Approximately 100 thousand public employees will receive training, continue with their intermittent studies or start agricultural education.
Further 104 thousand people will continue work in the usual manner at the forestries and water management authorities; will carry out maintenance work at the Hungarian State Railways or at the territories close to the borders. The number of public employees has risen from 10 thousand to 127 thousand, and regarding the whole year it will reach 300 thousand. The aim of the Ministry is to employ 200 thousand people simultaneously next year.
The Minister also mentioned that public employment programs are not only going to be checked locally, but on ministerial level as well, so that they can make sure that the local governments act regularly. He added that this year’s financial support for firewood is twice as big as last year – HUF 2 billion. This amount of money is enough to provide firewood for 120 thousand families.
Sándor Pintér explained that as winter is approaching the country, he wishes to carry out a routine in which traffic authorities, the police and the Disaster Management Authority would cooperate and model the possible closure and opening of the borders and other actions that need to be performed in the event of extreme snowing. The Minister referred to the second round of the consolidation of local governments as a new possibility. He indicated that many local governments have faced difficulties because they did not have enough financial means to fulfil the newly received state tasks.
The distribution of tasks was solved by the new law for the local governments; the first round of consolidation has been closed, the second round will concern 222 local governments according to estimations. By the end of December 2012 all offices of district officers were filled and as a result the subjective security has increased – said Minister Pintér. He emphasized that there is a significant amount of money secluded to provide constant police presence in the draft of next year’s budget.
This includes the so-called rolling actions and the work of those police officers who are on duty around the schools. In connection with the international NSA spying scandal he said that according to government decision, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is appointed to handle the issue. He added, however, that the secret services cooperate with the partner organizations, as a result of which Hungarian authorities “have asked the proper questions and are waiting for the replies.”
Ministry of Interior