From as early as next week, a long-awaited homeless shelter in The City could swing open its doors on Spry Street.
The new home of the Barbados Alliance to End Homelessness, formerly known as the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society, comes just as the numbers of homeless women and non-nationals rises, the alliance’s officials said.
The shelter, which can nightly house up to 90 children, women and men, is ready to provide not only a place for clients to lay their heads but a range of other services to help improve their lives, president Kemar Saffrey declared to reporters at a news conference yesterday.
“The shelter will also provide daily showers, breakfast, mentorship and counselling programmes, training programmes aimed at rehabilitating and reintegrating everyone back into society,” Saffrey said.
Programme Manager Kimberley Hinds-Harewood revealed: “There has been a great increase in the ladies that have been coming. In the last week into this week, we had as much as ten females.
“We are also seeing the non-nationals as well also coming for assistance.”
Saffrey assured that full security arrangments will be in place at the shelter.
With initial costs to run the shelter estimated at $800,000 annually, Saffrey launched the Alliance’s “Adopt-a-Bed” Christmas campaign which invites small public donations towards providing a bed and other amenities for clients.
Saffrey said: “While many persons may want to always donate food and clothing, the organization will need to also be assisted with financial donations.
“And with that we put out a way that we believe that every Barbadians can take part and it is called the Adopt-A-Bed campaign, where we are asking every Barbadian to give a contribution of $20 and that would go toward a person being able to receive a bed for the night, counselling, breakfast in the morning, the cleaning of linens, taking care of the dorms.”
Donations can be made directly to the Alliance or their accounts at FirstCaribbean, Scotiabank and Republic Bank, the alliance president said, as he promised other payment options would soon come on stream via Sure Pay and the Cave Shepherd credit card.
Looking ahead, he said the alliance was working on ending its lease-to-own contract to purchase the building outright at a cost of $1 million in another three years.