Homeless citizens in Falmouth and surrounding areas will now have access to a temporary shelter, meals and bathroom amenities after the Falmouth Homeless Shelter was officially opened on Friday (May 5) by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie.
The facility was constructed at a cost of $25 million and is located on the same premises as the Trelawny Drop-in Centre, which was opened by the Government in 2020.
Minister McKenzie said the shelter was the first such facility, located outside of the Corporate Area.
He noted that while the shelter was constructed to house up to 20 persons at a time, 14 males and six females if more persons need the facility’s services at any given time, they can utilize the drop-in centre.
“The doors of these facilities must never be closed to these persons who are in need of our help,” McKenzie stated.
Additionally, the Minister urged beneficiaries to take care of the facility and behave accordingly when they utilize its services.
In the meantime, McKenzie underscored the importance of taking care of the island’s indigent residents.
“A lot of these persons living on our streets, some of them their families have put out, some of them leave rural areas go to Kingston, or leave the hills of Trelawny and come into Falmouth, didn’t find what they were looking for, have nowhere to go and end up on the street,” he stated.
“Regardless of the circumstances that brought them to our streets, it is not our responsibility to abuse them, and I want to challenge the people of Falmouth and the surrounding communities to be a part of this crusade that speaks to protecting, caring and most importantly, respecting these people for who they are and not where they are living,” he added.
For his part, the Mayor of Falmouth, Collen Gager, thanked the Minister for ensuring that the facility was constructed and for continuing his crusade to protect the island’s indigent residents.
“It warms my heart to witness this opening, even as we still celebrate the opening of the drop-in centre. The streets of Falmouth have its fair share of people who just need someone or some place to cater to them. I am happy for this facility which provides shelter for the homeless at night,” he said.
He also commended the staff at the Trelawny Municipal Corporation for spearheading the completion of the shelter, under the directives of the Local Government Ministry.
Mayor Gager also implored the citizens of Falmouth to preserve and keep the facility safe from vandalism.