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New facility for homeless in San Fernando

Published: 
Monday, January 15, 2018
Minister of Social Development and Family Services Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn distributes soup at the opening of the San Fernando Centre for displaced persons at Lady Hailes Avenue, Kings Wharf, San Fernando yesterday. At right is Minister of Rural Development and Local Government and former mayor of San Fernando, Kazim Hosein.

With the official opening of the long awaited San Fernando Centre for Displaced Persons in San Fernando yesterday, homeless people in the southern city now have a place to go for meals, hair cuts and clothes.

Soon cots will be provided for those who need a place to sleep at night.

There is also a long term plan to help the people who use the facility, Social Development and Family Services Minister Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn told reporters following the official opening at Lady Hailes Avenue. She said a continuous care programme will be implemented.

“What that entails is having somewhere for these people—this same shelter approach—we are also going to be having accommodations, so within the next year or two, the people of San Fernando can expect to have a shelter where they can come in and be assessed, be rehabilitated and have some accommodations.”

Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, who initiated the project when he was the San Fernando Mayor, recalled: “I approached some business people in the private sector, the Rotary Club, the Lions’ Club, and a lot of volunteers came forward. This place was real run down and somebody did over the roof, the floors, the bathrooms.

“Someone donated the freezers and we have a board in place. I really am overwhelmed this morning to know that myself and the Minister of Social Development can bring joy to the hearts of the people this morning.

“They are really deserving of it, they have feelings, they are humans, they are a compassionate people.”

Among those volunteering their services at the centre is gyro and burger cart owner Betro Khori, of Syria, who sells at Cross Crossing. Safiyyah Shah, of Revival of the Ummah, a charitable organisation based in Chaguanas, will be operating the soup kitchen, providing 80 to 100 meals a week.

Students of the Civilian Conservation Corps provided manicures and haircuts for the homeless people who visiting the facility yesterday and Southern Supplies Limited donated clothes. Frank Edward Deonarine, 54, who has been living on the streets since 2015 when his house burnt down, said he was grateful for the help but said further support was needed for drug and alcohol addicts and those with mental problems.

Also at the official opening were Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, the MP for the area, and San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello.

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