The Stephen’s House hostel, which will provide temporary shelter while supporting the rehabilitation of deported women, was officially opened Thursday (September 16).
The hostel, located at 13 West Avenue in Kingston, comprises bedrooms, kitchen, living and dining quarters, and can accommodate up to eight individuals, including children.
The facility was built at a cost of $1.2 million and was funded by the Ministry of National Security in partnership with the Jamaica Reducing Reoffending Action Plan (JRRAP) and the British High Commission.
Director General, Crime Prevention, Community Safety Division of the Ministry of National Security, Courtney Brown, examines furnishings in one of the bedrooms during a tour of the Stephen’s House hostel, 13 West Avenue in Kingston, on Thursday (September 16). Occasion was the official opening of the facility, which will provide temporary shelter and support for deported Jamaican women.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of Hibiscus Jamaica Limited, St. Rachel Ustanny, said the facility seeks to offer temporary shelter to deported migrants who are in need of “emergency accommodation services.”
“Thirty days is the maximum stay time, but they can reapply for additional stay if they have not been able to identify accommodation on their own,” she said.
She added that if they are unable to locate housing solutions, after extensions have been granted, but have acquired lands, Hibiscus Jamaica Limited will assist in providing housing solutions.
“Through support from us, if they are able to identify family land (or acquire land as a gift or for lease) we would work with Food for the Poor, to see if assistance could be granted, through that organization, to meet those needs,” she said.
Newly refurbished Stephen’s House hostel located at 13 West Avenue in Kingston, which will provide temporary shelter and support for deported Jamaican women.
She added that a play area will be established at the back of the facility, so the children will have recreational activities.
“We will also make available to them a social worker and a caregiver who will attend to their daily needs, and ensure that their resettlement and reintegration process go smoothly,” she said.
Director General, Crime Prevention, Community Safety Division in the Ministry of National Security, Courtney Brown, said that the Ministry of National Security has been in partnership with the British Government, since 2008, to work on various intervention projects under the JRRAP.
“The support of the British Government has been nothing short of outstanding, and has allowed the Ministry to be much more effective in implementing some of its strategic objectives related to reintegration of deported persons and the…reduction of reoffending,” he said.
He said the main objective of JRRAP is to deliver services through four critical pathways to ex-offenders and deported migrants. These pathways include accommodation, employment and skills training, medical services and substance abuse reduction.
First Secretary, British High Commission, Janet Al-Utaibi, said that the facility has been refurbished to provide a “welcoming environment”, where deported women can be given counselling and assistance to get them through the difficult days after returning to Jamaica.
She said that the project is the first of its kind in Jamaica for women, adding that there are other temporary shelters, many of which are supplying much needed services but none that is designed specifically for women and children.
“What Hibiscus has created will do a great deal to help restore the dignity and self esteem of the women who use these services, and this is vital for successful reintegration for those who stay here with their children,” she said.
The services offered by Hibiscus will include case management, accommodation and welfare.
A non-governmental organization (NGO) Hibiscus Jamaica was established in 1993 to support the resettlement, reintegration and rehabilitation needs of deported migrant women.