Skills training, more health services to be offered at Night Shelter


Homeless persons accessing the government’s Night Shelter in Georgetown will soon be introduced to skills training by the Board of Industrial (BIT) training and the Women Innovation and Investment Network (WIIN) programme.

This was announced by Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr Vindhya Persaud on Friday.

“We will be utilising the existing training programme and in addition special programmes that will be done through the Night Shelter.

“If they want to sew, my intention is to put a few sewing machines here if they want to sew,” Dr Persaud stated.

According to Dr Persaud, the ministry’s disability programme, which includes therapy and mobility services, will also be offered at the shelter.

Dr Persaud visited the shelter on Friday to commission the $5 million upgraded dormitory. The dorms will increase the capacity at the shelter and will be used to screen persons there to ensure they are provided with the required treatment before they are integrated with the general population.

Inside the upgraded dorms (Photo: News Room/June 17, 2022)

The dorm was upgraded with new washroom facilities and 120 beds.

“The Night Shelter is here to ensure people are not out on the street, it bothers me deeply when I see people out on the street and I want to make sure they are someplace people can call home even if it is temporary so that you can have shelter, you have meals, and you have every bit of care that you need,” Dr Persaud said.

The shelter works in collaboration with the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and the Ministry of Health to ensure persons living there access regular healthcare services.

Dr Persaud on Friday said there will also be dental and optical care offered.

“Even though people might be homeless, I believe that they must be treated with dignity,” Dr Persaud said.

A new kitchen for the shelter is also on the cards along with the establishment of a shade house.

“So that you can have healthy, wholesome meals and also coming up we want to have a shade house at the Night Shelter,” Dr Persaud contended.

She explained that a shade house has great therapeutic benefits and “seeing your produce harvesting it will be a good activity for you to embark on.”

Carl Jones (Photo: News Room/June 17, 2022)

Fifty-eight-year-old Carl Jones has been living in the shelter since 2015. Jones told the News Room that he lived on the streets for years as a result of drug addiction. Since he has been at the shelter, he has managed to overcome his addiction.

“The shelter is so good because when I used to smoke, I lost all my documents and since I am here, I get back all my documents, I get back my ID card, my birth certificate and I lately applied for my public assistance,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, Administrator at the Night Shelter, Sheila Veerasammy said the shelter is now assisting persons to reintegrate with families or live independently.

“We are now treating the Night Shelter as an interim place so they come in, we provide them with the necessary support and we help them to locate housing so they can go back either independently into housing where they have to pay for it of course, through helping them with jobs, or we help them to integrate with families,” Veerasammy said.

Sheila Veerasammy (Photo: News Room/June 17, 2022)

She said many of the persons there have been abandoned by families due to behavioural and mental problems coupled with drug addiction.

According to Veerasammy, the shelter also responds to reports about homeless persons and intervenes once an investigation is done.

The shelter has a 24-hour staff, security, and CCTV cameras.

There are currently 45 persons living there.

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