President and project manager of the Barbados Alliance to End Homelessness (BAEH) Kemar Saffrey says COVID 19 has been serving a “double whammy” to his charity.
He explained that due to the attendant economic challenges, more people were experiencing financial hardship and seeking to access the charity’s services while at the same time, donor funds were getting less.
Saffrey’s comments came after receiving the final tranche of the $100,000 donated to the charity over the past five years in equal instalments of $20,000 from CIBC FirstCaribbean.
“I am thanking CIBC FirstCaribbean for its five-year commitment to the project. It comes at a time when due to the COVID-19 pandemic, funds from donors have almost dried-up. Be assured that these funds will be put to the best use in servicing our community,” he said.
The Alliance, which operates a 90-bed facility at Spry Street, Bridgetown and offers food, shelter, and rehabilitative programmes to people who are homeless, aims to give its clients optimal opportunities to transition back to self-sufficiency.
Saffrey explained that due to the current financial environment, new people were accessing the services of the BAEH.
“Some are people calling to explain that their landlords were evicting them, and they were requesting the procedure to access the service.
This is new.” He added that compared with those persons who were using the programme for a longer time, the recent users were more intense in accessing the charity’s services.
“Persons who have been on the street for several years seem to be somewhat immune to the conditions but would use the services of the shelter especially when they are experiencing problems, such as abuse, but some of them seem to believe that they can rally out, so their attendance tends to fluctuate.”
But, he added, the Alliance has strived to help all who sought its assistance. The charity which has been operating for over ten years, changed its name from the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society to the Barbados Alliance to End Homelessness to reflect its work with other relevant organisations, such as the Psychiatric Hospital and Verdun House, to provide help for clients who may be experiencing problems that are not merely financial.
“We know that things are rough with the pandemic and all that has been taking place recently, including the ash fall which would have made it even more difficult for homeless persons.
We are glad that we could continue our contribution that would assist those persons in need,” stated managing director of CIBC FirstCaribbean Barbados and the EC Islands, Donna Wellington.