Monday 23rd January 2017
Throughout the world there has always been a substantial segment of the population that is living in less than ideal conditions with estimates of the number of absolute poor reaching 100 million people worldwide.
The homeless are the most highly visible yet unseen residents in the capital city and country wide. At the most basic economic level, homelessness is caused by poverty and unemployment. However, becoming homeless is not the result of just a single event or factor; instead it’s a myriad of contributing factors that leads to someone becoming homeless. The many unfortunate individuals who have found themselves in a situation that could happen to practically anyone are not always drunks or drug abusers or mental patients, they are not the perpetual social problem that many believe them to be and after all this time some of us still look upon these people as a problem, an inconvenience. As such, most people have not taken the time to look past the stereotypes that concern these people and actually find out how they ended up being homeless, living in a shelter or the streets.
Homelessness impacts a lot more people than you might expect, it causes a host of other problems for society at large. These individuals have no place to call home: they sleep on pavements, in doorways, in parks, bus stops, or in night shelters. In Georgetown we have one such place called the East La Penitence Night Shelter. The Shelter is a non-profit organization established in January 2001 to provide shelter to persons experiencing socio-economic, psychological, domestic and/or other problems due to which they found themselves homeless. The Administrator of the Shelter Mrs. Sheila Veerasammy said that over the years, the men and women who sought sanctuary at the Shelter have been provided with a meal, a bath and a warm bed, which resulted in hundreds of men and women transforming their lives and reintegrate themselves into mainstream society.
Although the facility was initially opened only in the afternoons where persons can spend the night and have a warm meal, a decision was made through the Ministry of Social Protection, under whose purview the Shelter falls, to extend the hours, allowing those individuals who wanted to stay-in during the day since they had no place to go and would just end up "liming" in front of the shelter.
Mrs.Veerasammy said that the shelter has come a long way in providing for the homeless. Along with theSocial Worker attached to the shelter, they have helped many of the residents who are abled bodied to find a job and have in some cases reunited some of them with family members.
The Shelter needs your help! Due to the number of persons living and passing through the night shelter on a continuous basis, it is very difficult and costly for the government alone to adequately provide for all their needs. They are in need of items such as tooth brushes, bath and washing soap, soap powder, toiler paper, urine jars for men, body lotion, deodorant and powder, shoes for men and women (mostly men) and clothing but most importantly for persons to volunteer their time to assist at the shelter.
As such, Hotspotgy visited the shelter on Thursday 19th January, 2017 to make a donation of a quantity of tooth brushes, tooth pastes, soap powder, washing soaps, bath soaps and toilet paper. We walked around the shelter with the Administrator and Social Worker and were introduced to some of the residents who expressed their gratitude and shared some of their stories. It was a humbling experience.
If you would like to make a donation to the Night Shelter you can contact Mrs. Veerasammy on telephone number 231-7298 or Marlon Joseph on 616-3521- Clerk 2 General who also functions as the assistant to the Administrator . Your donations would be appreciated.