National Homeless Coordinator, Damion Campbell, lauds the Clarendon Poor Relief Department for the significant steps it has taken towards addressing homelessness in the parish.
Mr. Campbell pointed to the establishment of a homeless committee, the revamping of the local shelter program and advocating an increase in government financial support as major achievements in efforts to address the problem locally.
The National Homeless Coordinator, who was speaking at a Homeless Committee Luncheon in Clarendon in December last year, however urged poor relief officers to continue working to find solutions for chronic homelessness.
‘We should try as best as possible to serve [the homeless] in dignity. Never think that because a man is at that point eating out of a garbage bin he cannot help himself. We have to help them to understand that not because of unfortunate circumstances they have to live a certain way [and] they need to come back into society.”
Mr. Campbell says the Poor Relief Services (offered through local authorities) can measure how well they are doing in terms of tackling homelessness against the recommendations of a 2012 survey which proposes coordinating outreach and support services for the homeless, increasing public education and emphasising employment, skills training and rehabilitation as methods to improve the welfare of the homeless population.
Mr. Campbell adds that increased case management, personal housing and life skills training are also important components of programmes which serve the homeless. Clarendon has a youthful street people population with seventy-six percent of the parish’s homeless falling between the ages of eighteen and fifty-nine years old.