St Ann Municipal Corporation treats homeless on World Homeless Day
Mayor of St Ann's Bay Michael Belnavis and several other councillors and administrative staff spent time at the Drop-In Centre in Ocho Rios, treating homeless persons in observance of World Homeless Day on October 10.
They were supported by teams from the Poor Relief Department and Moon Palace Foundation Jamaica, with representatives from the Forestry Department and Marjam Preparatory School adding their input in the tree-planting ceremony that was twinned with the event.
Now in its 10th year, World Homeless Day was observed under the theme 'Do Your Share by Showing You Care' and was meant to bring awareness to the plight of homeless persons around the world.
Approximately 50 homeless persons turned up for the occasion and were treated to lunch and care packages, with some even getting haircuts from a barber brought in for the day.
"Today is World Homeless Day and it's also Tree Planting Week, so the St Ann Municipal Corporation has decided to incorporate the two into a function that benefits both," Belnavis explained.
He said the fact that the Drop-In Centre provides meals for 35 people daily, and that 50 persons turned out for World Homeless Day, was testament to the support that the St Ann Municipal Corporation has for homeless folk. He added that as councillors, that is what they do.
Belnavis reiterated his desire to expand the facility to allow residency for the homeless.
Speaking directly to the homeless during the ceremony, the mayor urged them to keep off the highway, as they usually endanger themselves on the busy thoroughfare.
"I'm also asking the public to refrain from giving these individuals money because they're using that to purchase drugs and so on," he later told The Gleaner.
The Drop-In Centre provides three meals daily for homeless persons.