Portland Rehab needs help
PORT ANTONIO, Portland:
HIS JOB as chairman of the Port Antonio Rehabilitation Centre is one that demands
love, patience, and tolerance, and that is just
what Robert Florea, a United States citizen,
has displayed, while caring for indigents at that facility.
Florea, who took up residence in Jamaica in 1988, has developed a caring relationship with the less fortunate who are under his charge, many of whom are homeless, abandoned by family members, destitute, and of unsound mind.
"My role as chairman is a full-time job. The residents are warm and friendly at this facility, which is an indication that they require love and attention. We are all one big happy family here, and even the staff is passionate about caring for those who are considered to be less fortunate," said Florea. But despite the love and caring, we might be forced to close the facility, as without funding or any form of assistance, we will not be able to continue operating for much longer."
According to Florea, since the resignation of Dr Paul Rhodes, a former chairman who single-handedly absorbed the cost of running the facility for the better part of 10 years, the overhead cost coupled with staff payments and the purchasing of food is taking a toll.
And although the 24 residents at the rehab facility are engaged in a practice of self-reliance by participating in a little backyard farming and rearing of chickens for their own consumption, the expenses are mounting.
The high cost of electricity and water bills, which have to be paid on a monthly basis, along with the purchasing of food items, medication, toiletries, detergent, and clothing, are just some of the mounting expenses facing the facility.
Not in vain
"It cannot be that after all our efforts, these residents, who are in dire need of love and care and day-to-day attention will have to return back to the street, where they will once again become the scourge of society. We have a wonderful programme at this facility, where everyone is engaged in prayer and worship. They have also learned how to make beads and earrings, which are sold at the craft market. Everyone is comfortable and happy, and I wouldn't want that to be taken away from them."
And with each passing day, the cost of running the facility becomes even more daunting, which has resulted in staff members volunteering their services for extended periods- a move that has created a serious strain on them, as they too have expenses and family members to take care of.