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Wednesday, 15 June 2016 20:10

Homeless Tax suggested to fund groups helping street dwellers

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It costs at the very least $6,000 per person, per month to rehabilitate the socially displaced.

This is a low-ball figure that emerged from Wednesday's Joint Select Committee on Social Services and Public Administration on State Interventions for Socially Displaced Persons.

Pastor Glen Awong of Transformed Life Ministry estimated that it costs $6,000 while Vision on a Mission puts the cost for rehabilitating prisoners at between $6,000 and $7,000 a month.

But for some things, statistics are difficult to come by.

Hulsie Bhaggan of the Living Waters Community said while it takes about two years to clean-up a drug addict who is cooperating with treatment, if the person receiving treatment has a dual disorder, and many do, treatment is even more difficult.

Many local NGOs are also working with limited resources and need access to transition homes which could provide a safe space for persons who need a phased re-entry into normal life. Ms. Bhaggan estimates that transition homes could improve their success rate by 80%.

This view was endorsed by Vision on a Mission's Gordon Husbands.

"It takes three years with care, support, surveillance and supervision, with government's support, proper support with a clear collaborative work between human services, Ministry of Health, criminal justice, Ministry of Housing."

Some of the solutions that emerged from the JSC was the importance of introducing anti-drug education campaigns in the primary schools and based on the testimony of one of the system's treatment successes, Caroline James, there was recognition of the importance of counseling.

However, one of the most interesting solutions came from Rhonda Maingot from Living Waters.

She said the city of Miami has a programme that seems to have successfully reduced the number of homeless people on their streets. She also pointed out that the programme has a unique type of funding.

"If you go to a restaurant in Miami, you would look at the bill, there's a tax, a 1.0 or 1.5% tax which is called a homeless tax and that tax is given to this project in Miami to operate. At least 75% of the funds come for that."

It was also suggested that Government intervention was needed to facilitate the streamlining of service delivery between multiple NGOs and address the administrative challenges, including funding and human resource management that can limit their effectiveness.

Read 319 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 09:17
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