Sat | Jul 20, 2019

Kingston mayor promises help for homeless downtown

Published:Wednesday | January 2, 2019 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson/Staff Reporter

Plagued by an influx of homeless persons to the capital city, the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Council (KSAMC) yesterday reiterated its resolve to find solutions for the problem this year.

Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams gave the reassurance yesterday during an annual New Year's Day feeding initiative put on for the homeless in the St William Grant Park downtown. More than 600 homeless persons were fed at the event.

"Coming out of discussions between the KSAMC and the Ministry of Local Government, spearheaded by the minister, we have agreed to construct a 'drop-in' shelter at the entrance of Kingston as you enter downtown," Williams said, noting that construction is slated to start this year.

"That is important for us, in that it will aid in building out the infrastructure to take care of homeless persons and also help in the redevelopment of downtown," he said.

"We would prefer not have any homeless within the city, but it is a fact that we do have persons who are homeless, and we do our best through the Inspector of Poor's Office and the Poor Relief Department throughout the year to accommodate them," he added, noting that the KSAMC provides meals up to two times a day to persons at some shelters in the parish.

 

Biodegradable boxes

 

Meanwhile, organisers of yesterday's event served food to the homeless in biodegradable boxes as they welcomed the ban on plastics and styrofoam containers that started yesterday.

According to the mayor, last year the municipality spent more than $100 million on drain-cleaning activities, and plastic bags and styrofoam containers made up more than 50 per cent of the debris removed from Kingston's drainage systems.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com