The country’s poor, and the homeless need to be recognised as equal members of society, Minister of the People Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh said on Wednesday.
He said poverty eradication will not take place overnight, and it will never be accomplished if the rights of the deprived and disadvantaged are neglected.
Ramadharsingh was speaking at the function on Wednesday, to mark the transitioning of former street dwellers, at the Piparo Empowerment Centre in Piparo.
“Seventeen individuals are now transitioning from one stage of homelessness to a phase of hopefulness. They are allowed an opportunity to acquire and develop skills—over the next nine to 12 months—that will assist in their reintegration into society,” he said.
The men, former street dwellers, were admitted to the establishment to be trained in life skills and other courses to assist with the reintegration process.
They were housed at Transform Life Ministries after their removal from the streets and underwent the first steps toward their rehabilitation and reintegration into the society, the Express was told.
Ramadharsingh said the socially displaced, who are victim to the problems associated with substance abuse, are susceptible to becoming homeless more frequently and often stay homeless longer than other homeless persons.
They are also possibly twice more likely to be arrested for crimes associated with illegal substance abuse, he said.
“That said, homeless persons are among the most vulnerable of the vulnerable and, as such, have a higher need for medical and rehabilitative treatment than the ‘housed’ population. Yet, they face more difficulties in accessing the help that they need than almost any other group within our society,” he said.
The Piparo Empowerment Centre provides rehabilitation and skills training for male substance abusers who are socially displaced, past offenders or those requiring long-term treatment. It is a treatment centre that provides live-in rehabilitation services to male substance abusers over a nine- to 12-month period.
The centre receives referrals from all divisions of the Ministry of the People as well as external organisations and walk-in clients, the Express was told.