Ministry to provide loans to jobless ranks facing eviction from Tokyo shelters

Kyodo News

The labor ministry said Wednesday it will provide loans for jobless and homeless people who are staying at four shelters set up in Tokyo until next Monday to help them find places to live.

Of some 500 jobless people who spent the New Year’s period encamped at a tent village set up by volunteers in Hibiya Park, about 300 were relocated to the four sites arranged Monday by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Those sites include unused school gymnasiums in Chuo Ward and Nerima Ward and a winter dormitory for homeless people in Ota Ward.

The ministry said that out of the 300, people who have already applied for welfare benefits can receive up to ¥10,000 in loans and those who have not applied for such benefits can get up to ¥50,000 in loans.

The ministry will set up a special counter at the four sites to start accepting applications for loans and will start providing funds Wednesday, it said.

The ministry also said it will determine who is eligible to receive welfare benefits as soon as possible and inform them by Friday.

Those deemed eligible will be able to receive ¥78,000 worth of monthly “life assistance benefits” in advance. The benefits are usually only paid to people after they have found a place to live.

Separately, the ministry plans to give out shampoo and underwear to all 300 people who are at the temporary shelters.

The ministry will inform them that they can only stay there until Monday and plans to direct them to public facilities and shelters for homeless people in Tokyo if they are unable to find housing by then.

The manufacturing sector in particular has seen massive layoffs since October due to the global economic crisis. Because many manufacturers provide housing to temp workers, those who were laid off lost their living quarters at the same time.

The latest labor ministry survey anticipates that between last October and this March, 85,012 temp workers will be laid off.