The Hospice de San Jose, managed by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul since June 1, 1865, is the first charitable institution in the Philippines founded in December 1810. It is situated in an island surrounded by the Pasig River called “Isla de la Convalescencia.” Originally, it was intended to house beggars of Manila. Then, it became a home for abandoned, orphaned and neglected children. At present, it has four Major Residential Programs:
The Child and Youth Welfare and Development Program for abandoned, surrendered, orphaned, neglected children & youth with the following services: Adoption/Foster Home Placements, Temporary Residential Care, Alternative Home for College Student Scholars, After-Care Services for those reunified to biological families.
The Program for Persons with Special Needs
The Program for Older Persons and the
Crisis Intervention Program with the following sub-components:
- The TAHAN Crisis Center for single pregnant women, internally displaced persons/families, migrants and refugees, sick persons having medical interventions in Manila and needing a transitory home, victims of calamities;
- The Sanctuary for Abused/Trafficked Women and Children;
- The “Food for Life Program” for Homeless Individuals/Families of Metro Manila.
The Hospice has been accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development with a Level III Status, a Center of Excellence, since May, 2015. There are 13 Daughters of Charity and 140 lay partners in mission running the above charitable works of the institution.
Now, we share with you our journey with the Homeless……
In 2008, during the Domestic Assembly of the Hospicio de San Jose DC Community, one of the furrows to be ploughed in its service to persons in poverty situations was the care for the street people because at that time and even until now, flocks of street people sleep on the pavements of the main streets and in the parks of the City of Manila. The first thing the Sisters did was to save from their food budget in order to bring hot meals for 100 street persons every Wednesday night.
In 2011, a charity clinic called “Rendu Community Center” was established at one of the vacant houses in Hospicio’s property in Pasay City where every afternoon doctors and nurses from San Juan de Dios Hospital (also managed by the Daughters of Charity) would come to give free medical check up to the street people brought to the Center by Hospicio’s nurse.
In 2012, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the coming of the Daughters of Charity to the Philippines, Hospicio inaugurated its “Food for Life” Program for 150 street people. This was envisioned in order to have more time to “get to know” the homeless person, (which was impossible to do at the night feeding): what brought him/her to the street, what is his/her greatest desire in life, while at the same time attending to their “pangs of hunger” and “need for hygiene.” Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the street people would come to Hospicio in the morning to take a bath. Additional toilets and bathrooms were provided for their use. Bread and hot coffee/ milk was served while they gather. A Social Worker interviews each of the family/individual and would give human and values formation while a Sister would give the catechetical/spiritual formation. After the formation sessions, a hot lunch was served to them.
In 2013 a temporary shelter was provided for 8 families at Hospicio’s Pasay Property to prepare them for eventual transfer to Bulacan Housing Project.
In 2017, 10 apartment units were ready for occupation, sponsored by Rotary Club of Manila. Hence, last March, 2017, 10 families transferred from Pasay to “Jardin de la Virgen Milagrosa,” Hospicio’s Property in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Priority was given to those whose heads of families were among the construction workers who built the said homes. The men continue to be employed for construction of other facilities within the property.
In 2018, another six apartment units were available for occupation, courtesy of individual donors. Also, the Livelihood and Skills Training Center was inaugurated in the same property. This is intended to provide Vocational Skills Training in Cookery and Baking Bread and Pastries for homeless youth, heads of families, in order to equip them with skills for job placements. In partnerships with other TESDA accredited schools in Bulacan, other NC II courses were offered to the street people. Up to date, two batches of Cookery have finished the training and have passed the TESDA assessment tests, one batch of trainees in Scaffolding Erection and one batch of trainees in Housekeeping. Many of the graduates have been given employment through Hospicio’s partnerships with certain companies, while others have been given livelihood capital to engage in some form of income generating project. The Skills Training and Job Placements is now the priority of Hospicio for its homeless beneficiaries and this project is currently on-going and is funded by the International Project Services of the DCs.
In August 2018, a Night Shelter was made available at Hospicio grounds for its homeless beneficiaries who would like to avail of a safe shelter at night instead of sleeping on the streets and parks of the city. A hot meal is served before the homeless families/individuals would enter the shelter. A hot breakfast was also served upon waking up.
Also, four more apartment units are being constructed. The plan is to put up 18 more housing units by 2020 but we are still in the process of looking for sponsors/donors for this project.