Friday 21 September, 2018

More homeless children and young persons in Barbados

From left to right: CEO of  CIBC FirstCaribbean Mr Gary Brown, President and Founder of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society Mr Kemar Saffrey, Manager and Director of CIBC FirstCaribbean Ms Donna Wellington.

From left to right: CEO of CIBC FirstCaribbean Mr Gary Brown, President and Founder of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society Mr Kemar Saffrey, Manager and Director of CIBC FirstCaribbean Ms Donna Wellington.

There has been an increase in the number of homeless children and young persons in Barbados.

This was revealed by President and Founder of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society Kemar Saffrey.

Speaking to the media after the presentation of a $20 000 cheque by CIBC FirstCaribbean - the first of a total of $100 000 pledged to the charity over the next five years - Saffrey stated that Society continues to see an increase in persons seeking their services each week:

"We are seeing up to 120 persons a week and overall we have over 440 for assistance.

"Each week we would see two to five new persons seeking assistance."

When asked about the demographics of those seeking assistance, he explained that in addition to an increase in women, they are seeing more persons with children. He said this is why they sought to urgently create accommodations for women and children last year:

"We are seeing an increase of young children... Women were sleeping on the street who were pregnant and even a child...

"This is something I would never expect to see in Barbados."

He also raised concerns about the number of young persons seeking their services. Saffrey noted that many of these persons end up in this position because of trouble at home and issues with the law:

"We are seeing more and more young faces... less old folks.

"Some of them say 'I got out out because my mother didn't want me around,' so it is a matter of deviance - also when they go to jail and come out."

He reemphasized his focus on creating a permanent place to help counsel and house vagrants and the homeless in Barbados, stressing that they would also like to be proactive and provide guidance for persons before they become homeless:

"Right now we focus on people who are are homeless... but we would like to help persons before they are on the street."