The Hugo Chávez Homeless Shelter, located at Onverwagt Village, West Coast Berbice, has received a “thumbs up” for helping homeless persons to be reunited with their families.
The multimillion-dollar shelter, a gift from late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, has as its objective, assisting in the social and physical welfare of persons who may have found themselves out of a home.
The centre, which has separate dorms for males and females; a kitchen; recreational, medical, training, dining facilities and conference rooms, has the capacity to hold 200 males and 100 females and sits on 7.30 acres of land. Some of the land has been set aside for residents to engage in agriculture. Counselling is also offered at the centre.
Consultant of the shelter Carol Joseph speaking withGuyana Times disclosed that many residents at the shelter are of sound mind but would have encountered disputes with their families that caused them to choose the streets over their homes. “What we do at the shelter here is to contact their families and work on a solution upon their behalf so they can return to their families” said Joseph.
According to Joseph: “When they leave here, we do not forget about them but we do a continuous follow-up on them. So far, all of the persons we have integrated with their families are doing well and keeping up their end of the bargain.”
Enterprising residents of the shelter have engaged themselves in several agricultural activities.
Even though the shelter has the capacity for housing approximately 300 residents, it has never reached half of its capacity. The current population is 55 residents.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Protection in collaboration with Project Restore Guyana (PRG) has been working to clear the pavements of homeless people.
Lennox Lee, speaking with Guyana Times, disclosed that PRG is working to remove homeless people and place them in various shelters: “They were collected and taken to the hospital and then placed in shelters. Some are still in the hospital but as soon as they are well they will be placed in shelters.”
Lee noted the removal of the vagrants is not a temporary action but will be a continuous activity to keep the streets cleared and place the people in better conditions.