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Music festival in aid of YMCA to be held in Valletta

YMCA needs financial and physical support to help the growing number of homeless people in Malta

A music festival in aid of YMCA will see a number of established and newer bands and musicians entertain the crowds at Maori in Valletta on 24 and 25 March from 3pm to 11pm.

The acts include Noah, Sam, Zizza and Friends, Pyramid Suns, Super Sponge Trio, The PlaKard Project, Double Standard, The Lenient Genies, Janice Azzopardi, Steven Meli and The Flashback Band.

YMCA Valletta said other popular bands will be playing but these will be kept as a “surprise.”

Entrance is by donations and all proceedings will go to YMCA’s Homeless Project, which among others provides a residential facility for individuals and families experiencing homelessness at ‘Dar Niki Cassar’ in Msida.

YMCA said people can assist it in many ways which go beyond financial donations, including volunteering and offering moral support.

The NGO runs two different projects; YMCA Homelessness Project and the Youth Empowerment Programme.

YMCA said the festival is being organised to raise funds which will be used to help the most vulnerable members of society. Currently some YMCA’s shelter accommodates some 25 people on a daily basis, including young people and families with young children.

While providing a roof for homeless people, YMCA also helps people become independent. The Homelessness Project, has been operating since 1995 and one of its programmes involves providing residential accommodation at its shelter and aid to people with psychosocial difficulties, with a special focus on people who are experiencing homelessness.

Services offered by the NGO include an after-care programme and the Y’PAUSE support group, psychological educational projects, community work, the YMCA Emergency Food Distribution Programme and furniture and clothing support.

The YMCA Youth Empowerment Programme is a youth-led youth work scheme which includes education workshops, seminars, public awareness and Youth Exchanges, in-house psychotherapy for children, young people and parents, leadership training and a recreational space for youths and an internet cafe.

Homelessness in Malta is a growing social problem, with many Maltese and non-Maltese people seeking help from government agencies and NGOs such as YMCA and Caritas Malta. At the end of June 2017, according to government agency Appoġġ statistics 18 adults with 27 children were being provided shelter by the State with another 88 adults in various other shelters and 37 on the waiting list.

But experts in the field and NGOs claim that official statistics do not paint the whole picture. The astronomical increases in rental prices have priced out many families and individuals

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