Jamaica’s Homeless Programme
Below is a summary of some of the initiatives of the Homeless Programme:
- PARISH COMMITTEES FOR THE HOMELESS:
Each parish is required to establish a Parish Committee for the Homeless. This committee seeks to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to improve the lives of the homeless within the parish. The committees usually include persons from health and social service agencies, service clubs, charities, faith-based, and community-based organizations, and government departments.
Objectives of the Committee include:
- To examine into the circumstance of Homelessness throughout the parish.
- To identify, plan, organize and develop programmes, projects, and regulations, and make recommendations for their implementation in relation to providing housing accommodation, funding programmes/projects and coordinating services.
- To raise awareness among stakeholders and the public to improve the care and protection of the Person Experiencing Homelessness in the parish.
To date, there is a parish committee for the homeless in 12 parishes, with plans underway to re-establish one in the outstanding parish.
- CARE FACILITIES FOR THE HOMELESS (Operation, Construction & Funding).
There are three types of care facilities for persons experiencing homelessness in Jamaica.
- Drop-In Centres (DIC)- These facilities cater to the needs of clients (meals, hygiene care and medical/mental health care) who are experiencing homelessness. They are opened during the day and close by about 5:00pm. Clients can also walk in and access services.
All Drop-in Centres cater to both sexes.
- Night Shelters (NS): Provide a place for clients to rest at night. They also provide meals but are usually closed during the daytime until about 5:00pm. Clients walk in and register for the night. Most night shelters have a large male population.
- Transitional Facilities (TF): Assist clients to develop skills and coping mechanisms needed for them to be re-integrated into society. These facilities are 24 hours and clients are usually expected to stay for a period of six months to two years. Most transitional facilities have a large male population.
Since 2017, the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development (MLGCD) constructed six Drop-in Centres, with a seventh under construction. The MLGCD has also continued to support other facilities through subventions on an annual basis. There are also numerous other private facilities and initiatives that coordinate interventions for the homeless across Jamaica.
In keeping with the theme, the Municipal Corporations (formerly Parish Councils) embarked on a sensitization programme to bring awareness to the abuse and senseless killing of persons experiencing homelessness. There are also coordinated activities with other government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
These activities include, but not limited to, presentations in schools and clinics to sensitize the public on how to care for persons experiencing homelessness respectfully; presentations on violence prevention and counselling on stress management; distribution of brochures and hygiene kits for persons experiencing homelessness.
- REHABILITATION & REINTEGRATION
The BOS in partnership with the Poor Relief Departments and Transitional Facilities have placed a great emphasis on rehabilitation and reintegration of clients who are willing and able to do so.
Through these services, persons experiencing homelessness are engaged in skills training, assistance with daily living skills activities and housing assistance. For the period April 2022 to March 2023, there were 14 persons experiencing homelessness, who were rehabilitated and reintegrated into their communities.
The BOS continues to provide ongoing training to human service providers who engage the homeless. This empowers the staff to provide the needed interventions to this vulnerable group.
A Point-in-Time Survey (PITS) is a count of homeless persons in Jamaica, that is done at a stipulated period or a point in time. The last survey was conducted in 2017 between July 23-30, 2017. It was executed by all the Poor Relief Departments and supervised by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development through the Board of Supervision.
The PITS sought to garner information on the homeless population and contributing factors to homelessness. It found that there were some 1935 persons who were homeless – 1590 of whom were males. The data collected assists in programme designs and more appropriate service provision for persons who are homeless. To date, based on anecdotal information received through our feeding programmes and intervention with persons experiencing homelessness, we have noticed an increase in the homeless population.
A list of the facilities supported or operated by the Ministry/Municipal Corporations can be found below:
|Kingston||Marie Atkins Night Shelter (MANS)||65 Hanover Street||876-922-6937-7|
|Church Street Shelter (NS)||Church Street,Kingston||876-922-6937-7|
|Open Arms Development Centre DIC & TF
Desmond McKenzie Transitional Centre for the Homeless. TF
|16 ½ Windward Road
173 King Street
|St. Thomas||St Thomas Municipal Corporation DIC||Church Corner, Morant Bay||876-905-7917|
|Portland||Portland Rehabilitation Management Centre (DIC & TF)||Gideon Ave, Port Antonio||876-993-9166|
|St. Mary||The St Mary Municipal Corporation DIC||Hodgson Street, Port Maria||876-994-2900|
|St. Ann||St Ann Municipal Corporation DIC and Night Shelter||Buckfield, St. Ann||876-972-7171
|Trelawny||Trelawny Municipal Corporation DIC
Trelawny Municipal Corporation Night Shelter
|Victoria Street, Falmouth
|Open Heart Charitable Mission (OHCM)
St. James Care Centre ( DIC)
Refuge of Hope (Montego Bay home for the homeless- (TF)
2a Lawrence Lane, Montego Bay
|Albion Road, Montego Bay||876-971-9097|
|Hanover||Hanover DIC||Miller’s Drive, Lucea||876-956-2958|
|Westmoreland||Westmoreland Association for Street People (WASP) (TF)||Dunbar’s River, Savanna-la-mar||876-955-2654|
|St. Elizabeth||St Elizabeth DIC||High Street, Black River||876-634-3701|
|Ebenezer Home (TF)||Grey Ground District||876-853-0448|
|Candle in The Dark (DIC, & TF)||10 Caledonia Rd||876-961-0167|
|Clarendon||Clarendon Drop-in Centre (DIC) and Night Shelter||East Street, Denbigh||876-986-9341|
|St. Catherine||Spanish Town Care Centre (DIC)||13 Monk Street||876-749-2132|
|Linstead DIC (Under-Construction)||King Street, Linstead||876-749-2132|