There are approximately 2000 homeless Jamaicans living on the streets in subhuman conditions in the island. That is according to Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond Mckenzie who says more will be done to protect these persons who are in need of assistance.
The Ministry is now on a mission to help homeless Jamaicans who reside on the nation’s streets and are often subject to vile treatment, abuse, and violence. Mckenzie says he has received reports about homeless being abused, some of which are disturbing.
“It has reached a stage where some cold-hearted Jamaicans forget about their difficulties and will go there and beat them. You have some dirty man in this country who go and engage some of the street people in sexual activities,” he shared.
The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development is now looking to locate safe places for the homeless. Drop-in shelters are considered one such undertaking which allows for comprehensive care and service to address the needs of these persons.
“I remember one where a couple was sleeping in front of the Ward Theatre and they were set on fire by cold-hearted people. I took a commitment when I was Mayor of Kingston that when I got the opportunity to make a difference in changing as best as possible the conditions that they are living under I would do so,” said Mckenzie, ” These facilities represent a start.”.
The drop-in centre now being constructed in Falmouth will aid a number of homeless persons in the parish of Trelawny by providing a safe haven from the streets. The homeless will be provided with three meals a day, clothing, medication, and other necessities.
“There is a lot more that has to be done and we will be doing a lot more. When we get into the next term of the Government to spend more this administration of Andrew Holness has provided more funds for the destitute of Jamaica than any other administration has done since 1944- and the records are there to prove it.”