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  • The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has identified several infirmaries across the island, which are to benefit from repairs under a $250 million allocation from the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) revenue surplus.
  • This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, at Friday’s (November 21) official opening of the new $31 million male ward at the St. Thomas Infirmary in Morant Bay.
  • In relation to the shelters, the Minister advised that a number of projects have been identified for implementation in Kingston and St. Andrew, Clarendon, Manchester, Westmoreland, Hanover, and St. Ann.

The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has identified several infirmaries across the island, which are to benefit from repairs under a  $250 million allocation from the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) revenue surplus.

In addition, several projects are to be undertaken, aimed at providing shelter for street people.

This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, at Friday’s (November 21) official opening of the new $31 million male ward at the St. Thomas Infirmary in Morant Bay.

He said the infirmaries, which are situated in St. James, St. Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, and Portland, “have serious problems… that require urgent attention”,

In relation to the shelters, the Minister advised that a number of projects have been identified for implementation in Kingston and St. Andrew, Clarendon, Manchester, Westmoreland, Hanover, and St. Ann.

“These include the refurbishing of a building to be used as a drop off centre, the acquisition of a building to develop a transitional facility for the homeless, and repairs to existing facilities,” he informed.

Mr. Arscott indicated that Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, announced that the sum would be earmarked for allocation this year, during her 2014/15 Budget Debate presentation in April.

Mr. Arscott said his Ministry, which has portfolio responsibility for infirmaries, street persons, and the provision of indigent housing, has been “working closely” with the Board of Supervision and the NHT, to develop and implement the initiatives.

The Board of Supervision is a statutory body established under the Poor Relief Act, to supervise and monitor the delivery of poor relief services by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and parish councils.

“We are aware of the enormous challenge of care for our vulnerable citizens, for the elderly, the sick, the vulnerable juveniles, (and) the transitional homeless,” the Minister said, while assuring that “the Government is taking, very seriously, the business of taking care of our elderly.”

He advised that “some work has already started” adding that “we expect (these) to be (carried out) on a phased basis (and) we are looking at a continuous programme for maybe a year or so, subject to the availability of funds.”

The newly built wing at the St. Thomas Infirmary, which now houses the 47 elderly male inmates, was financed by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, and Education (CHASE) Fund.

It features double occupancy rooms; bathrooms; a doctor’s examination room and matron’s office; as well as a visiting area.

There are 76 residents at the infirmary, 29 of which are females.

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