The Barbados Alliance to End Homelessness (BAEH) has launched a new bid to raise $1 million in five months to secure full ownership of its City shelter.
Its iPLEDGE Building Campaign was launched by the BAEH on Friday, with President Kemar Saffrey telling journalists that Barbadians have already started sending in their donations to the fund, despite uncertain and challenging economic times.
Saffrey said: “One of the things that we can appreciate is that when people see us in our shirts out there, they are curious to see what is the pledge, we have the message on [the shirts]… I think we started the campaign about two weeks ago, and to date we have raised over $15,000, without having to do any marketing.
“That is a testament in itself that people are willing to give despite the challenges. We understand the COVID situation, we understand the pandemic, but remember too that while you are going through the pandemic, and you are going through the struggles, they are others who are going through [difficulties], and whatever you can do to help that person that has nothing compared to what you have, that would be appreciated.”
Under the current agreement the BAEH had with the owner of the property, the organization had until March 2022 to buy the building before it is put back onto the market.
Given that the BAEH has for some time served as= the island’s lone multi-purpose shelter for both individuals and families, Saffrey said it was essential that the charity firm purchase the building and keep the organization based in The City.
He told reporters: “I do not see any reason it would fail, but should it fail, it means that whoever purchases the building, we do not believe it will remain as a shelter.
“Therefore it would put an end to the shelter as it is in its present form. I don’t know in the hard times if we are going to find somewhere else, if we are going to [a place] to accommodate the amount of people we accommodate, to do the type of work we do.
“This was the key reason for this building – this building alone [provides] the complete function that we needed, that we got trained for in all the [training] that we went to, to be able to do this exact work.”
Samantha Bourne, the iPLEDGE project’s coordinator said that the shelter had become a significant place of assistance for many people in need of help. She urged Barbadians at home or abroad to assist the fundraising drive in small or large ways.
“We are calling on friends, families, Bajans across the world and across the diaspora, to be one of 2,000 people to donate $500, or commit to pledging $100 a month for 5 months. If we get 2000 people to commit to that pledge we can go forward and purchase the building,” she said.
“Anything you can send, anything you can give, every dollar helps us reach our goal.”
Donors can visit the BAEH’s social media pages for more information, she said. (SB)