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March 2, 2021

SVP centre houses former ‘C9’ residents

The Centre for Socially Displaced Persons (CSDP), Port of Spain has received 21 persons who were housed at a temporary facility known as C9 which was opened last year.

C9, an initiative of the State, was opened April 2020 on the ground floor of the CSDP to provide assistance to homeless persons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services issued a release February 17 announcing C9 would be closed. The statement reported that during the past ten months, 93 people received shelter, nutritional and hygienic support. It stated that with the easing of public health restrictions, the facility was under-utilised.

According to the release, Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Senator  Donna Cox said the facility “had been a proactive approach by the Ministry to provide short-term care and shelter for the most vulnerable under highly unusual and unpredictable circumstances.”

Member of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) national executive and liaison with the Ministry and Office of the Prime Minister, Cheridan Woodruffe told the Catholic News 21 persons comprising 18 males and three females from C9 were now housed at the CSDP, located at what was NIPDEC car park, Town Council Street. He said they were “all settling in.”

Four persons are at the Centre temporarily because alternative accommodation could not be found with the closure of the C9. Woodruffe said the SVP was working with the Ministry to find accommodations for them, all males including one foreigner.

Clients of the CSDP are offered rehabilitation. Programmes by external providers have been halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Woodruffe said “everything is internal” now with literacy training, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and prayer service on Saturdays and Sundays available. “Ongoing counselling” has been taking place and a social worker visits “at least” three days for the week.

Woodruffe said a “House Committee” which comprises volunteers and members of conferences gives oversight to SVP facilities. The committee works with residents to “improve their lives.”