KINGSTON, Jamaica: The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development will construct a J$120 million homeless shelter during this fiscal year.
“The designs have been completed and the works have already been put to tender. This facility will cater to over 300 Jamaicans who are living on the streets, and lacking proper care,” Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, disclosed during his 2019/2020 Sectoral Presentation.
“We are not only providing physical spaces for the acre of the homeless. This year, $30 million will be provided to the drop-in centres for nutritional support.”
Minister McKenzie also highlighted that the administrative services for the homeless have been greatly enhanced, and eight Parish Homelessness Committees were also established during the 2018/2019 financial year.
New drop-in centres have been built and opened in St. Ann, St. Mary, Hanover and St. Elizabeth since 2018. With construction at more than fifty percent; the parishes of Trelawny and St. Thomas are on track to complete their facilities this year.
“We are also focused on enhancing the quality of life for residents at the infirmaries. The provision of uninterrupted electricity is critical in this respect. That is why this year, solar panels will be installed at all our infirmaries at an estimated cost of $27 million, thanks to the National Housing Trust,” he said.
Through the sport of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, the delivery of generators has begun. By the end of the 2019, all infirmaries will be equipped with solar panels, generators and closed circuit television systems will be installed for the safety and comfort of residents and staff.
“The Board of Supervision (BOS) is the Ministry’s guardian of the Social Protection Programme and a beacon of hope for our vulnerable people,” added Minister McKenzie.
“I commend the staff of the BOS as they work to protect our citizens in partnership with the Local Authorities. In this regard, I wish to announce that the Golden Age Hoem in Vineyard Town and the Denham Town Golden Age Homes were returned to the custodianship of this Ministry on February 5 this year, as well as the full care of the indoor and outdoor poor.”