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  • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, officially opened the new St. Elizabeth Drop-In Centre, on High Street, in Black River, on Friday (April 26).
  • The facility was built at a cost of $12 million and will be used to cater to the needs of homeless persons in the parish.
  • It is equipped with a doctor’s office, nurse’s station, a treatment room, kitchen, bathroom facilities, laundry room and dining area as well as being accessible to the physically challenged.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, officially opened the new St. Elizabeth Drop-In Centre, on High Street, in Black River, on Friday (April 26).

The facility was built at a cost of $12 million and will be used to cater to the needs of homeless persons in the parish.

It is equipped with a doctor’s office, nurse’s station, a treatment room, kitchen, bathroom facilities, laundry room and dining area as well as being accessible to the physically challenged.

In his address, Mr. McKenzie said all the drop-in centres across the island would be given financial support.

“We have put staff in all the facilities and I am pleased to announce that in this year’s budget for the Ministry of Local Government, we have the funds in the budget to operate all the drop-in centres across this country,” he added.

The Minister said the money would ensure that the required care and welfare are provided to the homeless and underprivileged seeking State assistance.

“We are not operating any facility under this Administration that is going to abuse the people who seek the help of the State and that is why we intend to offer advance training to those who work within our institutions,” Mr. McKenzie emphasised.

The Minister said that in light of some 2,000 people living on the streets across the island, Jamaica needs to “respect and recognise these people who come to the centres for the kind of assistance that they need.”

The facility marks the fourth drop-in centre to be constructed and commissioned into use since 2017. The others are in St. Ann, St. Mary and Hanover.

Two more centres are currently under construction in St. Thomas and Trelawny, and will be opened in short order, the Minister noted.