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Shelter in Shenzhen Gives Jobs and Lodgings
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A poor, homeless man has become the first down-and-out to get a job with the help of a government-funded shelter in this southern city.

The young man, in his early 20s, was fired from an electronics factory a week ago without receiving the money owed to him.

After wandering the streets for six days, the penniless, starving man, who did not want to give his name, sought help from the local police.

He was soon sent to a district shelter in Baoan, one of six districts in Shenzhen where there are a large number of factories.

Beyond his expectations, the shelter not only provided meals and accommodation, but also a job.

The man met a boss of an insect-killing company last Thursday, the second day after arriving at the shelter.

He was finally offered a job because of his complete identity certificates and his work experience.

"It's really an encouraging result. We now have the belief to carry on with this work," Xing Fuhe, chief of Baoan shelters, told China Daily.

The office is the country's first to launch a programme to match unemployed workers with job opportunities. It officially started work in April.

Of the more than 10,000 people who have stayed at one of the shelters in Baoan since they were set up in August 2003, about 60 to 70 per cent have been newcomers looking for a job in the city.

Many were robbed, cheated or had their possessions stolen shortly after arriving in Shenzhen. Others simply failed to get a job, according to Xing.

Although shelter officials have wanted to help young unemployed people for some time, the programme could be launched only with financial and policy support from the local civil affairs bureau, which came early this year, he said.

Xing's office collected personal information about the jobless workers and put them in touch with local employers. However, those who could not provide personal documents proving who they were, were not welcomed by local companies, Xing said.

Another problem was that despite the fact many unemployed workers have few skills and poor educational backgrounds, they have high expectations. They want jobs with high salaries, good working and living conditions, and stable working environments, he said.

"The job-seekers here should adjust their attitudes first," Xing said.

The director of Baoan's employment market, surnamed Guan, expressed his encouragement.

"Many factories suffer from labour shortages in Shenzhen. It's not difficult to get a job if you set your sights correctly."

(China Daily September 12, 2006)

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