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Jan 28, 2004

Mayor seeks finance for homeless plan

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It is a problem that has been with us for many years, but despite a number of sincere and practical efforts to find proper shelter for Belize City’s homeless citizens, a hard core insist on living outdoors. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods reports on the Mayor’s latest effort to solve the problem.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

We do not know exactly how many homeless persons live in Belize City, but we do know that around fifty spend each night at the Raymond Parks Night Shelter or the St. Vincent De Paul Good Samaritan Centre. Many others, however, do not use these facilities, choosing instead to sleep on the streets. The homeless can also be seen on a daily basis wandering across the city with little to do but beg for money

David Fonseca, Mayor, Belize City

“I think that in the past that there have been movements to try and get the homeless off the streets and to get programmes to keep them off the streets and to try and bring them back into society.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Do these programmes include finding another shelter for these people, constructing a new building, or working with the existing shelters?”

David Fonseca

“We don’t envisage doing a new building, it’s just the day to day programmes that we are working on. And we will be working very closely with all the various institutions in order for it to happen in the proper way. We’re not the expertise in this, we’re just trying to provide the opportunity for it to happen.”

Attempts have been made in the past to address the problem, but the lack of funds and programmes did not make it possible. The Belize City Council is hoping that their ongoing effort will tackle this issue once and for all.

David Fonseca

“Now that we recognise this we are raising funds so that we can have proper programmes in place in all of the institutions in order to have the homeless off the streets, to get them into these programmes for them to gain their self-confidence, self-esteem, and maybe even to earn a little bit of money and at the end of the day to be able to bring them back into society as a regular person.”

Mayor Fonseca says the programme does not include the construction of a new shelter, but incorporating day-to-day activities for the homeless.

David Fonseca

“It would be programmes in line that would give the individual homeless person something to do on a regular basis. Something to learn, to learn about doing something, making something, and even learning about themselves all over again because I think most of them have lost track of who they are.”

Mayor Fonseca says they are looking to raise fifty thousand dollars for the first phase of the programme. If you would like to donate towards this cause you can call the Belize City Council at telephone number 227-3073. Reporting for News 5, Jacqueline Woods.

On March fifth the Mayor’s Charity Ball will be held at the House of Culture. There is a donation of one hundred and fifty dollars per couple. The money collected will go towards the programme for the homeless.

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