Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde has voiced concern over an increase in the number of homeless people who have taken up residence in The City.
Speaking in Parliament during debate on a resolution to vest crown lands at London Bourne Towers on Bay Street in the National Housing Corporation, the outspoken parliamentarian said: “I am not a comfortable person when I come into Bridgetown and I see so many homeless people.
“I know that many of them would not have been people who arrive from The City or St Michael, but they are people who lIve any and everywhere when they develop mental illnesses or when they are evicted from a home,” the Opposition spokeswoman said.
She said it was particularly “hurtful” to see women and their children among the homelesss as she called on Minister of Housing Denis Kellman to say how Government plans to accommodate persons who were evicted.
“Almost everyday in urban and rural Barbados people get evicted. Evicted not only from houses they are renting, but evicted from a family household,” Forde said while charging that “some women have to give up their bodies to some old man or some other man in order to survive with their children, because they do not want to be on the streets.
“Some of these women sleep under people’s cellars, some sleep in patios and I am not making up any story because that is not my style. I see it and I know it is happening in Barbados. I think it is so unfortunate,” she said.
“I know in the past that the Ministry of Housing would keep back a few units to be able to accommodate those who had those sudden challenges or that were developing. Sometimes domestic violence. Some women and some men have to run for their lives. Some children also have to run for their lives, therefore what facilities are available?” Forde asked.
During her contribution, Forde also complained about the number of recent house fires and expressed concern that many people had been dislocated.
“Sometimes it is no fault of their own, [although] many people are not prioritizing and then there are others who have lost employment and the renewal of insurance on the home presents a challenge.
“Under these circumstances they lose everything in some of the fires,” she said, while asking, “What facilities are available?
“I would love to know because I have had house fires in my constituency and the residents are now squatting at homes where there are as many as 22 people in a house,” Forde said, adding, “It is very difficult for them to survive under those circumstances.
“What facilities are there for flood victims? What facilities are there for those whose houses had wind damage where roofs got blown off?” she further questioned.
The Opposition spokeswoman also drew reference to residents of White Hill, St Andrew who require spots for housing, saying the spots at Farmers were being used up, while the White Hill residents were just hanging on.