Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that police will be increasing patrol of the areas frequented by the homeless. He said the government will also be providing additional bed space for those vulnerable citizens in the Corporate Area.
He delivered the promise on the heels of heinous attacks that left four homeless men dead and two others wounded in Kingston and in the Half-Way-Tree area of St. Andrew between Sunday night and Monday morning.
Speaking on Tuesday in the House of Representatives, Holness said police were actively investigating the crimes, and one suspect was in custody in relation to one of the attacks.
He also announced plans to provide more accommodation for the homeless in the capital, so they could rest safely.
“At the end of February, work should commence on another 150 beds,” Holness said, noting that 100 of those would be established at the Marie Atkins Night Shelter.
The Prime Minister noted that in addition to the night shelters, members of the homeless community could also access medical checks and assessments, meals and other services at the drop-in centres.
He acknowledged that some homeless people preferred to remain on the streets at night, rather than seek the services of shelters, “and so we try to assist as much as we can”.
Opposition Leader Mark Golding, in his remarks, said he appreciated the measures that were outlined to increase shelter capacity and monitor areas where homeless persons frequent.