Sunday, April 21, 2024

Success with homeless


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THE BARBADOS Vagrants and Homeless Society continues to garner success rehabilitating clients and returning them to mainstream society.
Today, they held an open day at their Tudor Street, The City, office where former clients were invited back to testify to those still in the society’s At the Crossroads programme.
President and chairman Kemar Saffrey spoke about the programme and its success.
“We started the programme in 2011 and to date, 50 people have been through it and all of our clients have been successful. Once a potential client comes in off the streets and expresses an interest, what we would then do is place them in the programme to reintegrate them back into society. They go through counselling, mentorship, church educational programmes, family reintegration programmes, learn coping skills . . .,” he said.
However, Saffrey expressed some concern that they were seeing more and more homeless youth on the streets.
“Some of the clients we are getting now are way younger than before and that could be a problem as they are more aggressive. They are more ‘mouthy’ and with the company they keep, they think they are ‘bad boys’.
“This is a rising problem; there is a serious rise in youth becoming homeless. They have not reached the vagrant stage as vagrancy develops over a period of time but a lot are becoming homeless,” he said, adding the main reason was family who were putting them out without a second thought.
More people who have been living on the streets for decades are now turning to the organisation and Saffrey said this was a good sign. He said he was pleased that popular City vagrant Ninja Man had expressed interest in joining the programme and he looked forward to rehabilitating the man known for making a spectacle of himself along the busy streets of Bridgetown.
The open day attracted many former homeless people. One of them was 37-year-old Pierre Hinds, a deportee from America who landed in Barbados without a place to stay.
He said he learned how to deal with people and now had a steady job with a security firm.
“I learned a lot in this programme; it will help you be a man. If you learn and understand, you will be successful,” he said. (CA)


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