Facility for homeless persons to be built in Spanish Town
A move to establish a permanent facility for homeless persons in Spanish Town, St Catherine, has been made by the Ministry of Health with a donation of $4 million.
Through a partnership involving the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), with a contribution of $1.1 million; the St Catherine Municipal Corporation; and the National Health Fund (NHF), the home will be constructed for homeless persons based at the Spanish Town Hospital and those on the streets.
Speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony for the home on Friday at the Spanish Town Infirmary, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said the homeless in the area will "have another option".
He told the gathering that the initiative is part of a wider policy framework to support persons who are unable to help themselves due to problems caused by chronic illnesses such as strokes and mental issues.
Tufton said the hospital is housing some 26 persons, who should be in homes but have been abandoned by families, and the "the state has a duty to respond".
He told the gathering that the impact of persons having permanent residency at the Spanish Town Hospital is "adverse", and committed to support the new institution with a nurse so that the residents can "stay in the best possible state".
The minister also noted that the ministry, through the NHF, the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, and Food For The Poor, will be collaborating to "develop and expand capacity" at several infirmaries across the island.
For his part, Local Government Minister, Desmond McKenzie, welcomed the development, stating that needed spaces will be freed up at the hospital, while Mayor of Spanish Town, Councillor Norman Scott, said persons who are in need of hospital beds have been given a relief.