Grants Under Poor Relief Programme to Increase

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Ministry will be increasing the funeral and educational grants under the Poor Relief Programme starting in the new financial year.
  • This, he said, is in response to concerns from poor relief officers about the lack of adequate resources for the many social programmes they have to undertake.
  • He further informed that Government will be providing $90 million for indigent housing in the new financial year.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Ministry will be increasing the funeral and educational grants under the Poor Relief Programme starting in the new financial year.

This, he said, is in response to concerns from poor relief officers about the lack of adequate resources for the many social programmes they have to undertake.

“I met with the poor relief officers in Portland about six weeks ago and they outlined their concerns as it relates to the amount they get for grants such as funeral and education,” he noted.

“I have committed to do something about it and this will be done in the coming financial year to demonstrate our commitment to having an efficiently and effectively run poor relief programme,” he added.

Minister McKenzie was speaking at the Board of Supervision’s Awards and Recognition Ceremony held at the Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort in St. Ann on March 18.

He further informed that Government will be providing $90 million for indigent housing in the new financial year.

“This money will be administered… by the persons, who are competent in determining who needs it,” he noted.

He said that there are more than 20,000 indigent housing solutions across the country and the Government will ensure that the money is spent on those that are most in need of repairs.

“We also will be increasing the allowances to the homeless centres. My motto is that if we are going to do it let us do it the right way. We can’t do it in pieces,” Minister McKenzie said.

He noted that the Poor Relief Programme has evolved and it is no longer just a matter of just providing food and shelter but finding ways to rehabilitate and integrate persons back into society.

“I was more than pleased when I met with the Board of Supervision last week and where it was outlined to me some of the programmes that are taking place at Bellevue Hospital. What we are seeing is that when we find persons, they can be rehabilitated,” he said.

Mr. McKenzie said it should not be lost on society that about 90 per cent of those involved in poor relief as workers and caregivers are women.

“We must salute the women who are involved in this noble profession for their dedication, hard work and service to country,” he noted.

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