A care centre to support persons living on the streets was officially opened in Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth, on July 19, by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott.
The Minister lauded the work of the St. Elizabeth Care Committee, which spearheaded the project at a cost of some $3 million, with support from Food for the Poor, church groups, and the Local Government Ministry.
"The willingness to serve the less fortunate is commendable, and the care centre will focus on its mandate to care for those of our brothers and sisters who cannot otherwise adequately care for themselves," Mr. Arscott said.
"Our Local Authorities are thankful for the beneficial partnerships that have been forged with entities such as the St. Elizabeth Care Committee, Food for the Poor, Jamaica Red Cross, the many church organisations, the Police, the Council for Voluntary Social Services, and the communities. Were it not for the selfless voluntarism and determination of the individuals who comprise these groupings, successive Governments would have run short in their quest to provide adequate resources to address homelessness across our nation," the Minister added.
Mr. Arscott said discussions will take place between the Ministry and the St. Elizabeth Parish Council to explore how more support can be given to the centre.
"As a nation with a rich history of community service, sharing and kindness, we need to re-kindle this spirit. We cannot just leave it to other agencies and other voluntary organisations. We have to do our part to care for the next man, the next woman, the next child – this is the only way we can progress as a society," he emphasised.
Earlier in the day, Minister Arscott officially re-opened the upgraded Matron’s quarters at the St. Elizabeth Infirmary, also in Santa Cruz. He noted that the project was completed on time and within budget.