Drop-in centre for the homeless opens in Ocho Rios
A drop-in centre aimed at providing relief to the homeless in Ocho Rios and surrounding areas has been opened in the resort town.
The centre, built at a cost of $14 million and located at Buckfield, next door to the Ocho Rios fire station, was opened on Friday by Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie.
McKenzie said the facility is one of several to be built by the government to assist needy persons across the country under his ministry’s social protection programme.
“The expansion of national facilities that will provide care and comfort to our homeless citizens is an important aspect of the work of this administration,” he pointed out.
“From this building will emerge the services that will deliver relief and a sense of dignity to the homeless people of this parish,” he added.
The minister said a subvention of $150,000 will be provided monthly to each drop-in centre to support their operations.
He urged the St Ann Municipal Corporation to purchase a vehicle to transport homeless persons to the facility when necessary.
McKenzie said beds will be provided at each drop-in centre and warned that no one must be turned away.
Drop-in centres in Hanover, St Mary, and St Elizabeth should be ready this year.
Immediately on opening, several homeless persons were provided with a meal at the new facility, with Mayor of St Ann’s Bay Michael Belnavis and some councillors helping to serve them.