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Covid-19 Measures: Special Feeding Programme for the Homeless

KINGSTON, Jamaica (March 30, 2020): The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has embarked on a special feeding programme in the Corporate Area to benefit the homeless.

The initiative is among the raft of measures designed to address the country’s vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Minister Desmond McKenzie breakfast will be provided daily between 9:00am and 10:00am, and dinner served from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.

The special intervention – being organized through the municipal corporations – began in the Corporate Area on Sunday, March 29 where a total of 350 persons were fed across the locations of Downtown Kingston, Cross Roads, Half-Way-Tree, Papine and New Kingston.

“This feeding programme will complement what we are presently doing in the other parishes where our drop-in centres are providing daily meals and supplies for persons living on the streets,” the Minister explained.

The special feeding programme is being funded by a J$150 million allocation from the Ministry of Finance and Planning, as well as a percentage of the Local Government and Community Development Ministry’s budget.

The homeless will receive two cooked meals from Sunday to Friday over the next two months. These persons will also get care packages with ready-to-eat items for use on Saturdays.

“The Corporate Area poses the greatest challenge in all of this because we don’t have a facility outside of the Marie Atkins Night Shelter, which is already bursting at the seams,” noted Minister McKenzie.

“We are also working assiduously to find a location where we can take some of these persons off the streets especially in the Corporate Area on a temporary bass.”
Jamaica’s homeless population numbers over 2,000 persons – the majority of whom are found in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew.

Additionally, the Government continues to receive support for the special feeding programme from stakeholders including the Food For The Poor and the Salvation Army.