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As at January 1, 2006, Outdoor Poor Relief Departments under the Ministry of Local Government and Environment, catered to approximately 14,000 of the nation’s poor, including their dependents and spouses.
This is according to the Ministry’s Performance Report, which was tabled in the House of Representatives on July 26.
In order to ensure optimum care and protection of destitute persons, the Board of Supervision networked with various government and non-government agencies including the Food for the Poor, Juici Patties and other faith-based organizations, said the report.
The board also made “deliberate efforts to enhance service delivery to the residents of infirmaries and the Golden Age Home, through the Training and Retooling Infirmary Ancillary Staff (TRIASP) programme.
TRIAS was developed in conjunction with HEART Trust/NTA and certification is provided through the National Council on Technical Vocational Education and Training. The programme includes basic healthcare, home maintenance, nutrition, security and safety as well as personal development modules. At the end of 2005/2006, 64 ancillary staff from Trelawny, St. Mary and Portland were trained, the report said.
According to the report, the Board of Supervision has also completed a draft strategic plan to end chronic homelessness in Jamaica. This plan will be discussed with Poor Relief Officers island wide with a view of identifying their role in the care of homeless persons.
The board also developed two pilot projects – drop-in-centre and residential facility for males on the Bellevue Hospital compound, for implementation this fiscal year.
Meanwhile, for the year 2006/2007, the Board of Supervision will be undertaking a number of activities such as encouraging occupational therapy and rehabilitation of residents to facilitate shared burden of expenditure between residents and the state. “This will involve residents being in farming projects (poultry rearing, etc) to minimise costly purchases,” the report stated.
In addition the board will also aim to improve laundry conditions in the institutions through the provision of larger and more efficient equipment, and will facilitate the refurbishment or replacement of dilapidated infirmary structures.
Other activities of the Board of Supervision include establishing a residential facility for males on the grounds of the Bellevue Hospital. “Males are being targeted because they constitute a large percentage of the homeless population in Kingston,” the report explained.
The persons being targeted under this programme are those who require minimal supervision. They will also be encouraged to seek employment and engage in social activities as part of the efforts to ensure their re-integration into the society.
The board will also seek to continue training interventions targeting ancillary staff at infirmaries. Staff of the Clarendon, St. Ann, St. Catherine and St. Elizabeth infirmaries and the Golden Age Home will be trained in 2006/2007.
Another activity the board will undertake will be to “implement four regional seminars on the case management of homeless persons for poor relief officers”. The board will also seek to develop a homelessness policy.
As at January 1, 2006 a total of 1,412 residents were being cared for in the island’s infirmaries and the Board of Supervision continued to facilitate and monitor the rehabilitation exercise at infirmaries island wide. The board has conducted 19 visits to the infirmaries, the Golden Age Home and offices of the Inspectors of Poor since the beginning of January 2006.