A new shelter for the homeless – the first for the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society (BVHS) – is to open its doors possibly by October when the charity marks a decade of lobbying for the homeless, its president Kemar Saffrey has revealed.
Saffrey, who for many years has been asking the private and public sector to assist with financing the project, told Barbados TODAY that efforts were now being made to prepare a building in The City to provide 80 beds for women, children and men.
“This is something we have been championing for years. This is a major achievement. We have been talking about it for a while now.
“But we can definitely say comfortably right now that work has already started to make the building what it needs to be, and any and every assistance from the general public and corporate Barbados to making it a success is appreciated,” he said
While the building is currently being retrofitted for the shelter, Saffrey expressed the hope that as the BVHS celebrates its tenth anniversary on October 19, the shelter’s doors would also be opening.
He told Barbados TODAY: “We have beds coming in from overseas for the shelter. Our children would be in a protected environment. We would be able to treat them and provide free services and would be a hygiene hub for bathing, changing clothes.
“They can use the shelter as an address that they can put down to receive mail. The shelter is the key to really and truly bring persons off the streets in a safe and secured environment and keeping them in programmes that would see them going back into mainstream society.”
Saffrey said BVHS was ready to welcome potential donors to tour the facility. Other charities, including the Maria Holder Memorial Trust, are partnering with BVHS to bring the project to fruition, he disclosed.
He said: “But we also ask that for continuation of this particular project that Government would look at it as something that they too, along with their different departments can play a critical role in assisting. We have gotten a lot of setbacks as it relates to making it possible.
“We did not get a lot of support as it relates to making it possible, especially on the previous administration side, and we do hope that this new administration headed by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley would see this as something that is serious and tangible to helping people transition from one level to another.
“We are seeking to own this building within three years. But more information on that would definitely come to hand when we hold a press conference. But this is a heavy burden off the shoulders of the organisation.”