Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Good Samaritans falling in line with homeless feeding – mayor

Published:Wednesday | May 12, 2021 | 12:12 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer

The public has been responding positively to an appeal by the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) to desist from the ad hoc distribution of meals to the homeless in the Corporate Area.

Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams said that progress has been made in streamlining efforts between the Poor Relief Department and good Samaritans. More individuals and organisations have been collaborating with the KSAMC to avoid duplication and logistical problems.

At the corporation’s meeting of March 9, Williams had cited the need for coordination in order to reduce potential public health and other risks.

“It is very important that persons who have different programmes for feeding the homeless ... make the necessary communication and organise their programmes through the municipality,” Williams had argued then, before sharing some of his public health concerns.

“Let’s say on a daily basis someone receives a meal, and after they are finished eating, someone else or another organisation comes and gives them another meal,” the mayor said.

“They are not going to refuse it, so what they do is take it and store it, and we understand the issue of storing and bacteria.”

Another major issue, according to Williams, was that some homeless persons had specific dietary needs because of underlying medical conditions, such as hypertension, hypotension, and diabetes.

However, the mayor made it very clear that the KSAMC has no interest in taking full control of feeding programmes, but wants only to have regulatory oversight.

The KSAMC estimates that they are at least 2,000 homeless persons on the streets of the Corporate Area. The corporation provides between 600 and 700 meals twice daily.

“All the persons who have come to us are quite satisfied with the level of organisation,” Williams said.

Meanwhile, the corporation unanimously passed resolutions on Tuesday renaming three streets in the Cassia Park division: 75 Lane, as Hibiscus Drive; 77 Lane, Beverley Prince Drive; and Back Lane, Historic Drive.

Prince was honoured for her sterling contribution as councillor for the Cassia Park division from 1998-2012 and 2013 to the present.

Councillors from both sides of the political aisle regaled the meeting with their memories of her efforts to uplift the standard of living in the division.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com