Drop-in centre opens in Black River

Drop-in centre opens in Black River

Monday, April 29, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie formally opened the St Elizabeth Drop-In Centre on High Street in Black River last Friday.

The facility was built at a cost of $12 million and will cater to the needs of homeless people in the parish.

It is equipped with a doctor's office, nurse's station, a treatment room, kitchen, bathroom facilities, laundry room dining area, and is accessible to the physically challenged.

In his address, McKenzie said the Government would provide budgetary support to all the drop-in centres across the island.

“We have put staff in all the facilities and I am pleased to announce that in this year's budget for the Ministry of Local Government, we have the funds in the budget to operate all the drop-in centres across this country,” he said.

The Minister said the money would ensure that the requisite care and welfare is provided to the homeless and underprivileged seeking State assistance.

“We are not operating any facility under this Administration that is going to abuse the people who seek the help of the State, and that is why we intend to offer advanced training to those who work within our institutions,” McKenzie emphasised.

According to his statistics, there are some 2,000 people living on the streets across the island.

“Jamaica needs to respect and recognise these people who come to the centres for the kind of assistance that they need,” McKenzie argued.

The St Elizabeth facility marks the fourth to be constructed and commissioned into use since 2017. The others are in St Ann, St Mary and Hanover.

Two more centres are currently under construction, in St Thomas and Trelawny, and will be opened in short order, the minister noted.

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