FLASHBACK - Members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force preparing the temporary shelter for street dwellers at the Riverside Carpark, in March 2020. (Image: Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)

The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) has teamed up with the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS), to ensure the homeless population and street dwellers are not left behind, during the current COVID-19 crisis.

According to a release from the Ministry, the TTDF has been instrumental in constructing a temporary facility on the ground level of the car park at Riverside Carpark, at the Centre for Displaced Persons (CSDP), to provide temporary shelter for street dwellers.

The project began on Saturday 4 March 2020, and works are expected to be completed by today—Wednesday 8 April 2020. Upon completion, beneficiaries will undergo a process of admission to the facility.

The Ministry explains that the facility will provide beneficiaries with cots to sleep on, bathroom facilities, a dining/recreation facility and three meals daily. Cots will be laid on metal frames on the existing roadway for ease of maintenance.

In addition, a female dormitory will be separate from the male dormitory, enclosed using sheets of ply board, and secured. Meanwhile, the male dormitory, and dining/recreation area will remain open and running water will be provided for washing hands, bathing and personal hygiene. A security fence also is to be erected to prevent illegal/unauthorized entry to the stairs of CSDP.

The Social Development Ministry also notes that the facility will be accommodating persons according to social distancing stipulations and guidelines. Proper inspections will be undertaken by the Public Health Department to ensure that proper sanitation and living conditions are maintained.

Permanent Secretary Jacinta Bailey-Sobers (center) and staff from the Ministry’s Social Displacement Unit join the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force for a walkthrough on April 7th. (Image: Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)