Programme to Address Homelessness Launched


The government of Jamaica has implemented a programme designed to reduce and overtime eliminate the incidence of persons living on the nation’s streets.
Dubbed the ‘Initiative to Develop and Facilitate the Implementation of Policies and Programmes for the Homeless’, the initiative encompasses a number of diverse elements, including the execution of surveys and research, the provision of appropriate shelter facilities, and the establishment of a targeted programme to address homelessness.
The Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, the agency of government charged with the care and protection of street people, will lead the process, which will also involve the Ministries of National Security, Health, Labour and Social Security; the local authorities; non government organizations; faith based organizations; community based groups and the private sector.
Local Government Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, who launched the programme at her office on Hagley Park Road last week, informed that a committee, to be chaired by Dr. Maureen Irons-Morgan, Senior Medical Officer at the Bellevue Hospital, would be responsible for executing the programme.
The committee will operate under a Board of Supervision in the Ministry, and this board will be chaired by the Dr. Denise Eldemire-Shearer, Executive Director of the National Council for Senior Citizens.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said that the reality of homelessness was one of the most distressing features of today’s world, and the time had come for a more comprehensive approach to the issue locally.
“Each homeless person is an individual with special challenges and special needs”, she pointed out.
She noted that the success of the programme would depend on the widest possible participation of non-government and state organizations, the church, the private sector and individuals. She made special mention of the Kiwanis Club of downtown Kingston, which was instrumental in the development of the programme.
Past President of the club, Ezroy Millwood said that this initiative would have the support of all 56 Kiwanis clubs island wide, which have a membership of over 4,000 persons.
“I want to give every assurance that the downtown Kiwanis Club will mobilize the entire local Kiwanis body and those internationally, to see that this initiative is a real success,” he promised.

JIS Social