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Chairman of the Possibility Programme, Dr. Jaslin Salmon, has said that the newly constructed hostel would provide a safe place for boys to sleep, while they are undergoing training in the programme.
“One of the things that the Possibility Board recognised some time ago. is that the boys who are involved in the possibility programme, would come to our care centre and skills centre and in the evening when they leave, many of them go back to sleep on the streets. We found that unacceptable and decided we ought to do something about it,” Dr. Salmon said.
The hostel, which is located at 3 Goodwin Park Road off South Camp Road, was built at a cost of $15 million. It can house 32 boys, with the possibility for expansion in the future.
The building was opened by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on December 19.
“It is so constructed that there is the potential for adding two additional floors, and each of those floors will in turn hold 32 boys. So, in the final analysis if we put on the additional floors, we can accommodate 96 boys,” Dr. Salmon said.
He stressed that in order for street boys to stay at the hostel, they would have to be a part of the possibility programme.
“It is not just a place where any boy who lives on the street can go. A boy must be accepted into the possibility programme and not have a place at present to sleep. It is not a place where they are expected to come and live for the rest of their lives. It is not for incarceration and it is not a place for boys who are out of control,” informed Dr. Salmon.
“We expect that a boy will remain in the possibility programme between a year and a year and a half and after that point, we expect him to graduate and move on to something else,” the Chairman said.
The hostel was constructed in collaboration with the Rotary Club of St. Andrew, the National Housing Trust and several private sector organizations.
The Possibility Programme is a national plan, aimed at addressing the needs of street children nationwide, particularly the boys and young men who are actively involved in wiping windscreens at major intersections in the Corporate Area. Since its inception in 2001, approximately 234 boys and young men have benefited from the programme.