A 20-foot container being converted into a mobile shower for homeless people in the Corporate Area should be operational by July, Kingston Mayor Lee Clarke has said.
Clarke, who was the guest speaker at the Kiwanis Club of North St Andrew meeting at the Police Officers Club last Thursday evening, said that the mobile shower was being built by Tank-Weld.
It would have a changing area, hot water and a 200-gallon water tank. He said that the Poor Relief Department, the Salvation Army and the National Water Commission will be assisting with the project.
Pointing out that there are more than 2,000 homeless people on the streets of the city, the mayor said that major concerns of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) were the less fortunate and old people.
"We are trying to assist with help for as many of them as possible," he said.
In addition to the mobile shower, construction of a shelter for the homeless will start in two months. It will be built at a cost of $65 million and will house 150 men and women. The funding will be provided by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
The KSAC is already operating a shelter on Hanover Street and even with the new one, the homeless would still need more assistance, Clarke argued.
"Even with these shelters there are still over a thousand persons on the street," the mayor said.
Clarke said that the council had produced a directory of indigent persons, complete with their names and addresses. The directory was to be further updated to include the medicines they were prescribed.
He said that he had approached two telecommunications companies asking them to donate special touch phones for these indigent persons to enable the council to check on their welfare.
The mayor urged central government to return the responsibility of poor relief to the parish councils.
"The poor needs to see some light," he said.