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Public assistance grants up by 100% in 2012—Minister
Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh says for 2012 more than 50,000 needy people have benefited from public assistance grants, which have been increased by 100 per cent. “When we entered this ministry in the first six months between May 2010 and December 2010, only 3,000 persons were seen in the 40 regional offices of the ministry,” Ramadharsingh said.
“In our second year in 2011, we saw 30,000 persons in 65 outreaches of the Direct Impact Programme. “This was almost doubled with almost 80 outreach Impact exercises in 2012, so that we saw 50,000 persons and that the outreach exercises through the Direct Effect walkabouts and DIP have benefited the population tremendously.
“We’ve increased the general assistance grants from 10,000 to 20,000. In fact, all our grants were increased 100 per cent since we’ve come into office.” He was speaking on Friday at a staff appreciation luncheon at the Hyatt Regency, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, addressing an audience that included more than 1,000 employees of his ministry.
Ramadharsingh said the employees deserved to be feasted and appreciated at the best hotel in T&T for their hard work and dedication. He said in 2011 his ministry donated $76,556 to people for start-up businesses, in 2012 a “whopping” $3 million was used to aid people out of poverty and 25,000 people have benefited from public assistance grants as of July 2012 and 1,554 have received free bus passes.
Ramadharsingh said his ministry continued to distribute more than 6,000 hampers to needy families during the Christmas season and each Member of Parliament received 100 hampers to give to needy constituents. He said 6,000 ineligible names were removed from the food card programme.
Ramadharsingh said social assistance programmes will continue apace via the ministry’s various divisions.
They include improving the process of disbursing $2.2 million to the 79,942 pensioners monthly, the Inter-Agency Unit's (IAU) rehabilitation of street dwellers, the Bridge of Hope collecting donated equipment of wheelchairs, blood-pressure machines and blood-glucose machines from sponsors, the launch of the People's Bus to access communities throughout T&T, Social Displacement Unit, HIV Awarenesss Unit, People's Resolution Unit, elderly relocation programme, the expansion of over 24 specially-equipped buses for the disabled and the $11.5 million facility for the disabled in Carlsen Field.
He said for 2013 the goal was for the social inclusion of the homeless in society and increased attention to single parents with a new programme, MOMD (Mentoring Our Moms and Dads).
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