Homeless spokesman makes appeal to political parties

With over 100 homeless people said to be living on the streets of the capital, Bridgetown, the local charity which cares for their plight has issued a manifesto, urging all political parties contesting this year’s general election to make a pledge to stamp out homelessness for good.

In the two-page document entitled, Homeless Does Not Mean Voteless, founder-president of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society (BVHS) Kemar Saffrey called for a serious commitment to be made to improving the lives of those who currently live on the streets.

“The BVHS is at present inviting all political parties planning to run in the upcoming general election, to take note of its Homeless Manifesto, designed to facilitate the care and protection of the most vulnerable homeless persons in Barbados. This manifesto will be forwarded to all parties for their consideration, ahead of the election,” Saffrey said.

He specifically pointed out that the number of homeless people had more than doubled since the ruling Democratic Labour Party took office in 2008 and instituted a series of “tough economic policies” which have resulted in over 100 vagrants sleeping on the streets on any given night.

“Homelessness and sleeping on the streets have scaled to a national level. But as the leading homelessness organization, we know that change is possible with the election of your party,” Saffrey said.

“We call on your political party to make a clear manifesto commitment to an ambitious new national initiative to end homelessness,” he stressed, adding that effective action on this scourge needed strong leadership and coordinated work across Government and community organizations, including the Psychiatric Hospital, health agencies, the Welfare Department, police and housing agencies.

Saffrey wants which ever party that forms the next administration to embrace the BVHS’ Homelessness Reduction Proposal and to embed homelessness prevention priorities across key Government agencies, to guarantee the early intervention required.

He suggested that such an intervention should include a shelter to accommodate all persons currently living on the streets.

“This initiative must also tackle chronic homelessness and vagrancy by allocating a building to be used as a 24/7 shelter with Government providing funding and technical assistance, with additional support to tackle the mental health crisis [which is] keeping people stuck on our streets,” he said.

He also called for annual funding for the BVHS and housing solutions for vagrants.

“Housing solutions should be accompanied by a personalized package of support – and adequate support with housing costs through the benefits systems, such as the Welfare Department and the National Insurance Scheme – to ensure people do not return to the streets,” he added.

21 Responses to Homeless spokesman makes appeal to political parties

  1. Carlisle Norville January 16, 2018 at 10:18 am

    I have to admire de homeless representative Kermar, you visit his home recently since he start this project, he building & improving things for himself, after all, he is no fool, he must get a piece of the pie too, GOD give you brains to use Kermar Suffrey, just pick out the ones that are intelligent, had a bad break & really need your help .( have Compassion Kemar on them)some of them ain’t worth helping, & most of them need psychological help, please Kemar dont exploit their situation

    • Sherlock Holmes. January 17, 2018 at 7:37 am

      Interesting hmmm, well at least he won’t be homeless,do i hear accountability? @Carlisle Norville.

  2. Helicopter(8P) January 16, 2018 at 11:26 am

    A homeless person’s welfare and work induction program should be implemented. Employable age homeless should be given training and grooming skills for good on the job presentation. Inducting these homeless persons into a selected government departments for on the job training and entry level temporary positions should be a priority. One nation under the sky!

    • Belfast January 16, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      Skippa some with homes, CXC’S and training cannot get jobs.

  3. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce January 16, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Should be no homelessness in Barbados. There are hundreds of empty, empty properties not in use for decades. Unkept, no maintenance carried out making the place look untidy. After ten years maximum, properties unoccupied the government should make use of them. Then one will see how quick the owners turn up.

    • Belfast January 17, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      And many of those properties, like the bushy areas, are Government owned

  4. Mazie Taylor
    Mazie Taylor January 16, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    So the crooked politicians should take over people inheritance in Max -10years ? It takes more than ten years for some legal matters of a will to be finalized worse if no Will was written by the owner and (lazy )people should be allowed in them …. you joking right? Government should use our good taxes to help with the ( poor) and needy after checking their story. We have social care ministry and vagrants organizations here

  5. Mazie Taylor
    Mazie Taylor January 16, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    You gotta be joking some estate matters take more than Ten years to be settled government can’t just use people’s stuff as they like we have social services and vagrants organizations in the country

    • Dwayne Gittens
      Dwayne Gittens January 16, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Charities in Barbados just in it for the money and don’t use the money which is donated to filter down to those in need and social services in Barbados need a clean up from the way in which people in need are treated when entering these places asking for help

      • Jennifer January 16, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        Oh yes. I know FIRST HAND (medical). And no Watchdog, just disguised as “Charity/fund raising” SCHEME.

  6. Dwayne Gittens
    Dwayne Gittens January 16, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Most of these vagrants if not all have addiction problems whether its alcohol,drugs or gambling so not to say that they may not be homeless indeed but most misuse the funding they had or does get monthly causing them to be on the streets. Most either get pension or welfare assistance

  7. Dwayne Gittens
    Dwayne Gittens January 16, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    And if social services in Barbados did they job most people would be back on the feet ever since and reintegrated back into society as well.

    • Jennifer January 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      @Dwayne – True.

      @VB – The government should take them RH lot of abandon public buildings and make them into homes for the homeless people too.

  8. Alex Alleyne January 16, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Out of the mouth of many “the poor will always be with us”. I take it they see the same when it comes to “homeless”.

  9. nanci January 16, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    you really think the government will give homeless people welfare and social security payments dwayne. The homeless is a forgotten bunch, barbados does nothing for them. Some poor mentally ill people go to the welfare, and are asked to come back, next week, on and on. The country cares nothing about the homeless, the poor, the mentally ill or the elderly. The government should acqure a building and have it for a homeless shelter, and make sure the homeless are treated with respect.

  10. nanci January 16, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    also dwayne remember the elderly still gotta wait a few more years to get pension, so how they going to give the homeless pension and other financial help, you have to be living under a rock to believe that.

  11. Carson C. Cadogan January 16, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    No Bajans deported by ICE from America for the year 2017.

    And we all know that these people make up a large potion of the vagrant population in Barbados.


    • VoR January 16, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      You are wrong.According to the document 19 Bajans were deported.

  12. Carson C. Cadogan January 16, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    A homeless man was killed on 1 Jan. 2018 and nothing more has been heard of it since.

  13. Sheron Inniss January 16, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Take a number and join the queue. Do you really believe they care? Do what you can do and you will get to the point you would like. You may not be able to save all but you will save some.

  14. Sam Clarke January 21, 2018 at 10:07 am

    First out the gate the organization has to change its name. Your name is doing a disservice to your organization. You need to humanize the homeless, not treat them as what your organization’s name suggest.
    I agree with your position on the homeless, and that there must be wrap around services included in addressing the problem.

    There must be mental health, addiction services, educated, jobs,training, and housing.


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