A state-of-the-art shelter for the homeless in The City needs at least $100,000 to open, the head of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society, Kemar Saffrey has said.
The funds are needed to get the building to the required standards of a shelter to be approved by state agencies, he told journalists at a media briefing at BVHS headquarters on Spy Street.
Saffrey said he hopes the shelter would be opened by October 31.
He said: “We are still pleading with Barbadians to still raise about $100 000 to retrofit the building.
“We have to retrofit bathrooms. We have to make an emergency exit in the building, which leads down to the ground floor.
“We still have to look at painting the building. There are glasses around, so we have to put in wrought iron throughout the entire building.
“I know many times when persons think about the homeless they may think that it is clothing and food stuff that is the only thing that is needed.
“But we need to get this building up, we need to get it to a particular way, we have to pass all the regulations in a short space of time.
“We also need support if persons want to come down and paint so that we can meet that deadline to get these persons off the streets.”
The shelter is to have 80 rooms to accommodate men, women and children. It is to house a medical clinic, rehabilitation centre, training rooms, showers, kitchens, and a grooming room.
Saffrey told reporters: “It will be a busy building. A 24-hour operation.
“We are not going to go with the living in because we don’t want to create any dependency at all.
“We are going to work with them, but we are not going to provide long term living facilities.”
Saffrey was flanked by the representatives of two private sector firms that have partnered with the homeless society on the shelter project.
Steven Jardine, a partner with the accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers which has donated $25,000 to the project, encouraged other organisations to take advantage of the opportunity to help the homeless.
“It is a tremendous opportunity and something which would go a long way in helping many people in our society who are in real need.
“So we are more than happy to be part and parcel of this initiative,” he said.
Judith Wilcox, who represented Ansa McCal, said the group of companies donated Berger paint and appliances and other items from Standard to the shelter.
“I would urge other companies to take a look at what they can do. We are certainly looking at also what we can continue to do to get this up and running.
“I really look forward to seeing it when it is transformed,” she said.
Saffrey said that while the BVHS has a three-year lease on the three-storey building, it is currently up for sale at one million dollars.
The association is hoping to eventually purchase the building which is said to be at a prime location in the heart of The City. (AH)