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Beggars’ Banquet

Bali’s Capital of Denpasar Studying from Banjarmasin, Kalimantan on How to Reduce Street Beggars and Vagrants

(5/6/2013) The State News Agency Antara reports that officials from Bali’s capital city of Denpasar are studying strategies and tactics used to reduce street beggars and vagrants practiced in the South Kalimantan city of Banjarmasin.

A Denpasar municipal official, Ketut Mister, said on Saturday, May 4, 2013, during a visit to Banjarmasin: “The problem of managing beggars (in Banjarmasin) is not much different with what we experience (in Bali). Today the mode of operations of beggars has changed; they use coordinators.”

According to Mister, local regulations to prevent, deter, capture and educate beggars, while persuading the public not to hand money out to street urchins has done little to actually reduce the number of beggars on Bali’s streets.

And, while Banjarmasin faces much the same situation as Bali, that South Kalimantan community has been more successful in keeping beggars off their streets by introducing a series of “halfway” houses where beggars and street urchins apprehended by the police must spend a period of "training" before being returned to their home cities.

Miter admitted that Denpasar does not yet have halfway houses for beggars and street urchins due to a lack of available land to accommodate the construction of such facilitates.

A Banjarmasin city official, Rusdiansyah, told the visiting Denpasar officials that substantial funds are needed to handle the problems of beggars and street urchins.

“We have a half-way house where the beggars are placed (before returning home) to act as a deterrent and as a place of training. But his requires funding for consumables and our budget is limited,” explained Rusdiansyah.

Agus Surono, the head of Social Services for Banjarmasin said the halfway houses are also used for housing the mentally ill. “At this time, our halfway house has 29 mentally ill people in residence,” said Surono.

Both Banjarmasin and Denpasar say that the majority of beggars and street urchins originate from areas outside the city in which they operate, with many hailing from areas outside the province.