also see: Housing Minister seeks funds for Shelter from NHT Money ....... Will the LGBT Homeless be Assisted?
The stoning of JFLAG's offices by some of the men yet again this time at a different location in January has not helped the situation either with an ever deteriorating relationship one wonders where this will end. Now comes this Following the stabbing of a policeman and an eight-year-old boy in downtown Kingston on Wednesday by a man believed to be of unsound mind, the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation issued a release stating that it is committed to clearing the streets of the homeless.
“We continue to work in a responsible and caring manner to clear the streets of the homeless, some of whom are mentally ill. The Bellevue Hospital has partnered with us to treat these mentally ill individuals and to find a place for them”, announced Town Clerk Robert Hill.
The KSAC, through its Poor Relief Department, according to the release, has held several meetings and has partnered with many organisations to find accommodation for the homeless. Some have been placed at the KSAC’s own Marie Aitkens Shelter and other homes and have been trained in various skill sets, some have even been given jobs while others are still waiting to be placed.
The release said the process has been slow because of limited resources and options in assisting this group.
“The KSAC is always trying to assist the less fortunate and mentally ill in Kingston and St Andrew. This incident is unfortunate and we stand in solidarity with the youngster and his family. We pray that something like this will never happen again,” said Mayor Angela Brown Burke.
“We will continue to work in a coordinated effort with all the stakeholders with a
view to alleviate conditions that could lead to such incidence reoccurring,” the mayor said.
Trouble is such facilities are overburdened, the Salvation army's program by parade has been curtailed somewhat as a new edict by the goodly mayor some time ago also restricts open feeding of homeless persons be they LGBT or not.
With all the nice goals the Poor Relief Act espouses it has not been helpful at all to the displaced and homeless especially those who are LGBT.
The Poor Relief Department of the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew is a welfare agency of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation. It was established as a result of the Poor Relief Act, which was enacted on April 29, 1886 and modified a number of times over the years.
The department was located at the Old Wolmer’s Ground (now an Arcade) – 65 Church Street, Kingston. It was relocated in the fifties to 65 Hanover Street – its present location.
The Poor Relief Department is the welfare of the Ministry of Local Government, Youth and Sports and is administered by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation under the Poor Relief Act. Its aims and objectives are to alleviate destitution in all its forms. Under Poor Relief Act, all persons who are physically or mentally disabled and unable to work and earn a livelihood and who are destitute are entitled to receive Poor Relief benefits.
Manning any shelters established, registering persons to be accommodated therein, and ensuring that food, bedding and health care are provided.
Investigation of persons who are reported to have suffered in the disaster.
Rehabilitation of disaster victims
To serve as a catalyst for our clients, by alleviating destitution, to improve their standard of living and enhance their quality of life through counseling, rehabilitation and the use of available resources. All that we do will be in keeping with our motto “Show You Care; Do Your Share”.
The Board of Supervision is the legal body that supervises Poor Relief islandwide. The Poor Relief Committee (a sub-committee) is the manager of the poor on behalf of the Corporation as stipulated by the poor on behalf of the corporation as stipulated by the Poor Relief Act. The department is administered and operated by a group of social workers known as Poor Relief Officers. The chief among them is the Inspector of Poor. Others are the Deputy Inspector of Poor, the Senior Assistant Inspector of Poor and Assistant Inspectors of Poor. The Assistant Inspectors of Poor or Field Officers are in charge of one of the 13 zones that exist with the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew.
There are also some support staff that assist in carrying out the functions of Poor Relief Department. The Poor Relief Officers are guided in their work by Laws and Regulations governing the system. Some of the Laws are:-
1. Poor Relief Act
2. The Status of Children Act
3. The Married Women’s Property Act
4. The Affiliation Act
5. The Vagrancy Act
6. The Offenses Against the Person Act
7. The Children Adoption Act
8. The Maintenance Act
9. Mental Health Act
10. Juvenile Act
These functions are carried out through interviewing, investigating, counseling, visiting, reporting, rehabilitative intervention and referrals. Monitoring is done through domiciliary visits (follow-up) to evaluate client’s progress.
Poor Relief Programs are supposed to consist of some of the items below but they seem not willing to touch the LGBT population with a long stick so for instance:
Poor Relief Assistance; Institution and Non-Institutional
Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation
“Adopt a Child’
The criterion for eligibility is dependent on the program. For Poor Relief Assistance, “The persons entitled to relief are the persons within the parish who are wholly destitute of the means of subsistence, and are at the same time due to mental or physical causes, unable to work and earn a means of subsistence” (Poor Relief Act Section 29).
There are two forms of Poor Relief Assistance – the institutional and Non-Institutional.
1. The Institutional – care is available to destitute persons who are;
a. Without a dwelling place
b. Ailing and have on one to care for them
a. The Non-Institutional – care relates to those who need Poor Relief Assistance and can manage outside of an institution.
c. Those who become destitute because of circumstances such as catastrophe, which makes them entitled toDisaster relief and Rehabilitation is assisted as described in the Poor Relief Act.
The Street People Program is administered to those persons who are homeless and are in need of shelter, daily meals, medical attention and the opportunity to have a bath and change of clothing.,
The Marie Atkins Care Center for Street People was established in November 1993. The purpose of the center is to improve the quality of life for the Homeless. Clients are able to reunite with their families in U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain and here in Jamaica.
The Feeding Program is available to destitute persons who are able to provide a meal on any given days. Food packages are provided to registered clients monthly and a hot meal at some pay stations on pay days.
The Indigent Housing Program is available to an indigent who is in need of a house or who is in need of repairs to be done to his/her dwelling. This is facilitated through the Member of Parliament/Councilor S.E.S.P. allocation. The department in collaboration with the Food for the Poor also builds hosing units.
The Adopt a Child Program is an outreach initiative, which seeks sponsorship from organizations and individuals to provide a scholarship for destitute children who are doing well in school but are failing financial deprivation.
Assistance and Services
The Poor Relief Department by virtue of the Poor Relief Act is the primary agency to relieve destitution and in all disaster it stands prominent as the authoritative body to make assistance readily available prior to committee approval. Assistance is given in the form of money, food, clothing and shelter inter alia.
also see: Shelter Coming for Homeless Gays to date such shelter is nowhere in sight.