Homeless men, women and children who roam the streets of Bridgetown by day are one step closer to having a roof over their heads and a safe place to rest at night.
The Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society (BVHS) drew a little closer to their goal of acquiring a city property with a presentation of the third tranche of a five-year commitment from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.
“The money will go towards the purchase of a building that we have earmarked which will form our headquarters and will be able to house men, women and children in different dormitory areas where they can sleep at night” stated Kemar Saffrey, head of the local organisation charged with looking after those who presently sleep on the streets.
He went on to explain that it is a long process in trying to acquire the property, completing the legal work that needs to be done and then the physical work of retro fitting the property to create dorms for men on one floor and those for women and children on another floor. He further cited the fact that they have had to acquire specialised cots, mattresses and linens, which have been donated through membership in a worldwide organisation that assists the homeless, to which the Barbados Society belongs.
The overall goal is to raise $500,000 for the purchase of the building and the retrofitting for the BVHS. When the renovations are completed the building will not only house the dorms, it will also accommodate office space and storerooms, as well as a communal dining room and will expect to shelter approximately 60 people per night.
Back in 2017 the bank, pledged a five-year commitment to assist the BVHS by donating $20,000 per year through the FirstCaribbean ComTrust Foundation, its charitable organisation. In making the presentation, Managing Director for Barbados, Donna Wellington, stated that the bank recognises its duty to assist some of those less fortunate in our community and commended the BVHS for the work that it has been doing for the homeless, explaining that the bank was glad that it could assist Saffrey with the work of the Society.
He explained that at present the Society feeds about 100 people daily and is seeing roughly seven new cases of homeless people per month.