Sunday 17 February, 2019

Vagrant mothers push Society to ramp up appeal for building funds

(foreground) Founder of the Barbados Vagrant and Homeless Society, Kemar Saffrey

(foreground) Founder of the Barbados Vagrant and Homeless Society, Kemar Saffrey

Vagrant mothers push Society to increase appeal for building funds

The Barbados Vagrant and Homeless Society (BVHS) are gearing up to launch a campaign to raise the much-needed funds to own a residential facility for clients.

Having barely scraped the surface with less than $20 000 raised to date, the Founder of the BVHS, Kemar Saffrey says that seeing more women and with children in tow living on the streets is motivating them to go harder.

He said:

“It is a growing problem, [we’re seeing] more and more women.

“Just the other day we had to deal with a case with a lady who is pregnant and she is on the street and she also has five children.”

This disclosure after Loop News asked about the homeless lady, Angela Grant, whose circumstances are being investigated by the National Assistance Board having been highlighted in another section of the press.

Knowing of her story, he continued, “So it is a growing problem when you have the amount of women coming, like in the case of Ms. Grant, that are becoming homeless and that is why we are more so pushing public appeal and assistance as it relates to getting funds to assist with a building, because we don’t believe in our 21st Century we should have people living on the streets being pregnant, women especially.”

He said that in some cases mothers are put out spontaneously and so they may scramble to try to find quick arrangements for their children, even if not for themselves. But he stressed that is neither fair nor ideal.

“With some, their children are affected by it for probably a night or two or they have to be leaving their children all around. So it is a growing problem,” he repeated.

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The Board released a statement this week saying:

‘Social workers from the agency immediately began investigating the case after it was highlighted in the newspaper and visited Ms. Grant at the Accident and Emergency Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

‘The 64-year-old, who suffers with diabetes and poor circulation, was taken to the hospital last Sunday, February 3.

‘The NAB has stated that it would work closely with the Social Services Department at the QEH and other social service agencies to bring the matter to resolution.’

Saffrey said that the new appeal went out in December 2018, and the ads started running last month, January 2019. So the hope is that people will get on board and “help push the organisation forward because there is the need for it [the facility].”

Not holding stats for this New Year as yet, Saffrey added that “2019 is still early but I know last year we would have made mention to 89 new cases and I think just about 15 or so were women so there is that increase as it relates to statistics.”

Saffrey spoke to Loop News on Thursday, February 7, 2019, at the newly renovated Nature Fun Ranch building which acts as a resource and admin centre and more. The renovation project was completed by the Sandals Foundation. The building has had a facelift and is now "safer". However, the overall enhancements at the Nature Fun Ranch now including a computer room at least eight stations, are compliments not only Sandals Foundation but the US Embassy in Barbados, Robinson Smiles, Ace H&B Hardware, Tropical Shipping, Scotiabank and others.

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