The government’s plan to assist in getting the homeless off the street is reported to be advancing.
Minister of Social Transformation Samantha Marshall said Government is in the process of finding a site to use in assisting the number of alcoholics who are perhaps suffering from psychological and other mental conditions that lead to their unfortunate state.
“It’s really not to house them…but in trying to rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into society, because a lot of them have families. Some even have their own properties.”
In early March, the Cabinet was apprised of the situation regarding homeless men in St. John’s, especially in the vicinity of the Public Market, and agreed to address the burgeoning number of these individuals who appear unkempt and unhealthy.
Following the Cabinet’s statement, president of the St. John’s Taxi Association Patrick Burnette commended the government on its stated commitment to address the issue of vagrants in and around the city of St. John’s.
“For any tourism country, it’s not nice, it’s unsightly; so if we can help them, I think we should help them,” Burnette said.
The government has also stated its intent to amend the laws that will allow for a psychological evaluation of those who abuse substances and become homeless. The amended law will seek to provide the authority to extend help, even when refused, without any injury to those persons’ rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda.