St. Catherine Parish Council Launches Homelessness Committee

St. Catherine Parish Council Launches Homelessness Committee

“Homelessness is Everybody’s Business, Play Your Part”, is the theme for the St. Catherine Parish Council, Board of Supervision Homelessness Committee official launch, held in the park at the scenic Emancipation Square, Spanish Town, on Friday, October 30, 2015.

A very condensed and exciting programme it was with entertainment from St. Jago and Jonathon Grant High Schools and the St Catherine Parish Council Homelessness Golden Agers group.

Among the specially invited guests present were Rev. the Hon. Jeffery McKenzie, Custos of St. Catherine, Pastor Everett Smith, Senior Pastor of the Spanish Town Seventh Day Adventist and Central Jamaica Conference, Mr. Dennis Robothom of the St. Catherine Chamber of Commerce and our very own Mayor of Spanish Town, Councillor Norman Scott who was Guest Speaker.

The Parish Homelessness Committee is a subcommittee of the Poor Relief Committee and is cognizant of what needs to be done to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to improve the lives of the homeless within the parish. Its mission is to “develop suitable strategies to eliminate chronic homelessness in the parish” and this must be fulfilled.

In his overview, Mr. Damian Campbell, National Homelessness Coordinator at the Board of Supervision, noted that the Committee which commenced in February 2014 presently comprises of (20) members and has so far provided services to approximately (70) Homeless Clients and other destitute persons within the parish.  Outside of the tea programme and the Golden Agers Club which are also in place, a feeding programme has also been streamlined (6 days per week Monday to Saturday), where Jonathan Grant High School Students volunteer with cooking and feeding the Homeless.

“I challenge each of us to consider doing more for our brothers and sisters who need us. Instead of giving them just food or money, let us think about other ways in which we can empower them.  The truth is, when we think they are looking for a hand out, many are truly looking for a hand up”…said the Guest Speaker in his discourse.

Subsequent to the launch, Mental Health and medical services were provided for the first time for all homeless and destitute citizens at the Spanish Town Care Centre, located on the Infirmary premises at Monk Street, Spanish Town.
List of services offered and activities carried out included:

Processing of Birth Certificates (30) - free of cost- for the homeless and destitute who are without same, courtesy of the Registrar General’s Department;
Psychiatric Treatment
Blood Pressure checks
Eye testing, screening, referrals and issuing of reading glasses – courtesy of the Lion’s Club
Mental Health Assessments/ treatment
Gifts issued 

The Management of the St. Catherine Parish Council conveys special thanks to the team and key organizations for their support; this includes the Social Development Commission, Lions Club, Ministers’ Fraternal among other groups.