The Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services revealed, on Thursday, that a total of 253 individuals were provided shelter amid the lockdown implemented over the capital city of Male' to curb the local COVID-19 outbreak.
During the city-wide lockdown which remained in place for three months, a number of citizens faced eviction due to financial difficulties caused by unemployment or salary reduction as certain landlords arbitrarily evicted tenants as a result of their inability to make rent.
According to a statement released by the ministry, 144 women, 103 men and six infants were among those given temporary accommodation and meals.
Furthermore, the gender ministry announced its decision to halt the operation of state shelters in connection to the government easing lockdown measures imposed over the Greater Male' Area. The ministry added that efforts were underway to vacate and return the building offered by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment for temporary usage as a shelter.
With the exception of a family of 13 people, including four children, the gender ministry revealed that all individuals had arranged their own accommodation and left the government shelter.
The statement disclosed that the individuals were repeatedly requested to arrange their own accommodation and move out of the shelter following a socioeconomic assessment.
The ministry assured that it had offered to arrange transport to the family's native island as well as giving them the option to finalise an alternative arrangement. Unemployed individuals in the family were also advised to register at the Ministry of Economic Development's job portal.
Additionally, the statement noted that discussions were being conducted with other state institutions concerning possible assistance to families that may face difficulties in moving back to their native islands after having lived in the capital for an extended period of time.
Individuals were only placed under state care after being notified that the arrangement was a temporary measure intended to provide sufficient time for them to secure their own housing in the capital or native islands. The statement highlighted that all individuals had agreed to move back to their native islands if necessary, prior to accepting state assistance.