Latest News

SPECIAL FEATURE: Managing the homeless facilities


FALMOUTH, Trelawny: Given the august responsibility and nature of their jobs; the administrators tasked with the day-to-day operations of the Ministry’s Drop-In Centres are expected to provide effective leadership in the coordination of initiatives for those in need.

Geovanni Bartley and Suzette Prince Jackson support the homeless as managers of the Drop-In Centres in Falmouth, Trelawny and Ocho Rios in St. Ann, respectively.

Mr. Bartley is a 31-year-old trained social worker who has been in the employ of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation since July 2020.

“The job comes with its fair share of challenges but because social work is a passion of mine, I really push to go above and beyond for my job,” he shared.

He manages the Trelawny Drop-In Centre and the Falmouth Homeless Shelter. The Centre operates seven days per week providing two meals daily for some 25 persons as well as supper on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

His clientele includes persons with homes but are unable to find food and health care. The remainder comprises street people, some of whom are mentally challenged.

 For his colleague in St. Ann, she has been working in the Poor Relief System for more than 10 years. The 49-year-old began her tenure with a job at the St. Ann Infirmary for five years; then pursued the Human Services Programme and transitioned to a Poor Relief Officer before her transfer to the Ocho Rios Drop-In Centre in December 2021 as the administrator.

“I would say my job is challenging but rewarding because at the end of the day you see the smiles on the faces of our clients,” added Mrs. Prince Jackson. “We do have those persons who live on the streets, others have a roof over their heads but are unable to find food and clothing.”

Her staff of eight caters to 25 to 40 persons- including migratory homeless persons who travel to Ocho Rios because of its robust tourism economy.

Both Mr. Bartley and Mrs. Prince Jackson also have a range of recreational activities for their clients that include remedial classes, skills training sessions and group social activities especially around the Jamaican Public Holidays.

The administrators have each placed at least two of their clients in full-time jobs as part of the rehabilitation process and are working with others to achieve similar success.

Mr Geovanni Bartley, Manager of the Trelawny Drop-In Centre and Night Shelter.

“I want growth where the facility’s work is widespread and its purpose and work are known throughout the parish,” concluded Mr. Bartley. “The wider community is learning and slowly accepting the facility and quite a number of business operators are already supportive of the Centre’s efforts.”