Homeless shelter gets face masks and temperature gauges

His Worship the Mayor, Alderman Joel Martinez presents the equipment to the Ministry’s Chief Technical Officer (Ag.), Michael Reid and Administrator Manager for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Martin Alves. (Image: Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)

The Centre for Socially Displaced Persons recently received a donation of face masks and temperature gauges from Sagicor, in what the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services describes as a “display of solidarity in the fight against COVID-19”.

In a news release, the Ministry reports that the Port-of-Spain City Corporation handed-over the donation to the Centre on Thursday 28 May 2020, on behalf of donors, Sagicor.

The donation comprises four temperature gauges and a quantity of face masks.  The exchange took place at the temporary homeless shelter on the ground floor of the Centre, and was attended by His Worship the Mayor, Alderman Joel Martinez who presented the equipment and supplies to the Ministry’s Chief Technical Officer (Ag.), Mr. Michael Reid and Administrator Manager for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Mr. Martin Alves.

Back in April this year, the Ministry—together with the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force—constructed the street dweller facility to provide temporary shelter for street dwellers during the COVID-19 crisis. To date, the centre houses thirty-two males and one female.

Mayor Martinez demonstrates how to use the hand-held thermal device on the Ministry’s Chief Technical Officer (Ag.), Michael Reid. (Image: Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)

During brief remarks, Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez thanking Sagicor for the donation, said that they will continue to collaborate to ensure all citizens—especially the vulnerable—are looked after. Mr. Reid citing ‘we are all in this together’, thanked the Mayor and Sagicor on behalf of the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Social Development and Family Services and the Executive of the Ministry for the contribution to safeguarding the health and safety of street dwellers and all staff and volunteers on the frontlines at the shelter.

Prior to the presentation of the donated items, Mayor Martinez was engaged by Marcel Nassy, a temporary resident of the facility, who sought to commend the Ministry and the City of Port-of-Spain for their outstanding efforts in alleviating the plight of distressed citizens like himself, who were amongst the most at-risk for COVID19.

The female resident at the shelter is Michelle Alexander, a multi-talented local craftswoman and certified pastry chef. During a brief walk-through of the temporary shelter, Ms. Alexander proudly displayed her woven craft items, which included handbags and bathroom sets, which she had been able to produce in the safe and nurturing environment of the shelter.

“I am one of many individuals who are housed here at the Shelter,” Michelle Alexander said. “I am using the opportunity to do some introspection.”

Michelle Alexander said she is willing to learn from her previous experiences and to grow and develop in the hopes that she would regain a sense of self independence through her various skills.