Men on Mission to build 50 houses for vulnerable persons this year
With efforts underway to streamline its services, the ‘Men on Mission’ grouping will build at least 50 houses for vulnerable individuals this year while other efforts will be directed towards the establishment of shelters for homeless individuals.
This is according to Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force Brigadier Godfrey Bess, who spoke at a press conference at Camp Ayanganna in Georgetown on Monday.
“… while $500 million has been allocated in the budget for MoM activities, we have not allocated a fixed amount to building of homes but His Excellency (President Dr. Irfaan Ali) has directed that we work on building at least 50 homes in 2023,” Brigadier Bess said on Monday.
Men on Mission (MoM) is an initiative that was launched by President Ali last year, as part of efforts to mobilise men across the country to address key issues in society such as improving people’s living conditions.
As part of that broad focus, Brigadier Bess said 40 houses have already been constructed all across the country.
Enthusiastic private sector support, in large part, contributed to the construction of the initial set of houses, according to the GDF Head.
Efforts are now being made to organise and streamline contributions from the private sector and the assistance doled out to maintain a high degree of accountability. It was also noted that MoM is seeking to have a standardised design for the structures erected.
“We are screening our assessments and ensuring that homes are prepared for needy persons and based on the standard that our planning committee has worked on,”
Asked how beneficiaries are selected, Bess explained that formal requests are made through the army, regional officials or other community members.
Subsequently, MoM’s assessment team would determine the level of priority for those requests.
Vulnerable individuals including the elderly, single parents and those with disabilities are prioritised and their living circumstances are categorised as essential, important or desirable.
Currently, there are more than 26 essential requests and more than 70 requests for housing support in total.
“We do recognise that we have to have a structured approach to this activity… we want to do well and ensure that our vulnerable people are not affected,” he said.
Meanwhile, Brigadier Bess said the MoM is also focusing on the rehabilitation of homeless persons this year.
As such, the organisation is seeking to establish facilities for homeless street dwellers across the country. Where unused or underutilised state-owned buildings exist, those will be repurposed as shelters.
If those do not exist or are inadequate, new buildings will be constructed.