NGO Caritas has written to the director of the Department of Social Services Toulla Kouloumou asking her to reconsider a decision to move the provision of “material benefit conditions” from its offices in Kaimakli to Lakatamia as it will have dire consequences for one of the most vulnerable groups — asylum seekers who qualify for assistance, including food coupons.
“As you know, most asylum seekers cannot afford transportation and must walk from place to place. Getting to Kaimakli was difficult for some, but it will now be impossible for almost all to walk the over 10 kilometres from the centre of Nicosia to Lakatamia,” the letter said.
Using the bus is their only option, but the cost of bus fare is beyond the means of most asylum seekers, including because their cash benefits are often delayed, it added.
Most must visit the Social Welfare office more than once, and some between 6 and 10 times, per month.
“Given these realities, we implore you to reconsider the decision or, if that is not possible, to examine alternative solutions. In the meantime, a way must be found to decrease, if not eliminate, the prohibitive cost of transportation for those who need to engage with the Social Welfare office to survive,” the letter concluded.