A street dweller at Harris Promenade in San Fernando.

While a temporary shelter has been set up in Port-of-Spain to house street dwellers during the COVID-19 pandemic, details are still being worked out to open a similar shelter in San Fernando.

San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said he spoke to Social Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis about this last week and a facility has been identified.

He said they are aiming to outfit the San Fernando Centre for Displaced Persons at Lady Hailes Avenue with the necessary resources to transform the facility into a 24-hour shelter.

The homeless population in San Fernando is approximately 75 people.

The Centre’s normal operations usually included providing breakfast and lunch, clothes, hair grooming and allowing the street dwellers to have a shower on a Sunday. They were also treated to manicures/pedicures, a movie and other services intermittently. With the help of the Defence Force, the Ministry constructed a temporary facility on the ground level of the car park at Riverside Carpark, at the Centre for Socially Displaced Persons (CSDP).

In a release on Wednesday, the Ministry stated that beneficiaries would undergo a process of admission to the facility.

“In the first instance, this 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 and a female dormitory will be separate from the male dormitory, enclosed using sheets of plyboard, and secured. 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 is also to be erected to prevent illegal/unauthorised entry to the stairs of CSDP.” The Ministry noted that the facility will also accommodate persons according to social distancing stipulations and guidelines and proper inspections will be done by the Public Health Department to ensure that proper sanitation and living conditions are maintained.