$120-m shelter for homeless to be built in Kingston

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A new shelter for homeless persons in the Corporate Area is to be built on King Street, downtown Kingston, at a cost of approximately $120 million.

Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie made the disclosure during his 2019/20 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

He said that designs for the facility have been completed and the works put to tender. “This facility will cater to over 300 Jamaicans who are living on the streets and lacking proper care,” he noted.

Meanwhile, McKenzie said construction of drop-in centres for the homeless in St Thomas and Trelawny is more than 50 per cent complete.

These will increase accommodation for the approximately 1,971 registered homeless people islandwide.

New drop-in centres, built at a cost of $28 million, opened in St Ann and St Mary in May and November 2018, respectively.

The St Elizabeth drop-in centre, built at a cost of $14 million, was officially opened in early May, while the Hanover drop-in centre was also completed at a similar cost.

McKenzie advised that the people at the facilities are receiving nutritional support at a cost of $30 million, and approval is being obtained from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to recruit administrative and other support staff to operate the facilities.

McKenzie also advised the House that the administrative structures through which services to the homeless are provided have been “greatly enhanced”.

This, he indicated, is consequent on the establishment of eight Parish Homelessness Committees during the 2018/19 fiscal year.

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