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Belize City getting a handle on the homeless

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Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2020. 2:50 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: As much as Belizeans may complain about our current restrictions and issues with finding food and so on, some do not even have a home to go to or food to get.

Starting in April, the Mental Health Welcome Resource Center, National Sports Council and Belize City Council, among others, joined forces for a program to take care of the homeless population of Belize City during the National State of Emergency.

Now while there are some persons still hanging out on the main streets, they now have a place to sleep at night and food to eat.

Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner explains: “Again, that was a great initiative spearheaded by our Councilor [Delthrude] Hilton, she is responsible for health in that area and prior I believe it’s around January she got together with some of the other agencies, the mental health, some of the resource centers that provide bedding and food for these homeless people and they did a significant and workable plan – Red Cross and all of them got together and with the national sports council and they identify the MCC grounds to have those people stay overnight. They provide them meals, they provide them bedding, clothing and that has worked pretty well. You haven’t seen that extent of people on the streets and I want to commend the work of Councilor Hilton, I want to commend the work of all the other agencies that came together, not worrying about color, not worrying about government agencies, not worrying about city council agency, but coming together to ensure that the homeless were taken care of.”

The Mayor noted that there was “significant risk” to leaving the homeless on the streets: they are both exposed to the natural elements and regularly moving around and in close contact. Had one caught COVID-19 and passed it around, he says we may never know how significant that spread might have been.

And as for a more permanent solution, Mayor Wagner hopes to continue the initiative and collaboration and bring in some international partners from the religious community.

 

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