Homeless put on streets by shelter
Dozens of homeless people in an emergency shelter at a secondary school were out on the streets yesterday after they were ordered to leave during daytime hours.
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said last night that the temporary shelter at the Berkeley Institute in Pembroke would operate from 6.30pm to 7.30am and that people were asked to leave during the day so it could be cleaned.
Mr Caines said the shelter was expected to move to CedarBridge Academy in Devonshire inside 48 hours to make social-distancing easier.
He was speaking after one woman using the shelter said she was out in the city with “no lunch, nothing” and that she and her boyfriend had been ordered back to the school by police who found them in a park.
Another shelter resident said that more than 40 men and women at the Berkeley Institute had been told at about 8pm on Tuesday that the policy would start the next day.
The source, who asked not to be named, said: “We are thankful to the Government for what they have done for us thus far.
“But all at the shelter at Berkeley were totally blindsided by this news and short notice. We really don’t know what will happen when and if confronted by the police while out on the roads.
“I know of a case where a person does not have ID.”
The resident said the ruling, effective from 8am to 7pm, meant almost everyone in the shelter would “be on the streets out in the elements, rain, blow or shine, for about ten hours with no protective gear — masks, gloves and hand sanitiser”.
The source added: “The City of Hamilton is shut down, no bathrooms to use and to keep hands washed on a frequent basis, as well as no feeding programmes in operation due to the 24-hour lockdown.”
The homeless person said: “The Premier and the Minister of National Security have pleaded for the public to stay inside during the Government’s mandated 14-day shelter in place, but now the homeless who are most vulnerable at this time to the potential of catching Covid-19 are being put out in the streets.”
The source added one of the shelter team had said the change was because staff had been redeployed to look after people on a government-enforced 14-day quarantine.
Residents who returned to the island from Britain and the United States in the past few days are secured at a government-approved centre until their isolation period is over.
However, the Berkeley source questioned why the change was not made public at a press conference held at the school on Tuesday night.
One man on the streets in Hamilton said the homeless had been promised a roof over their heads for two weeks.
He added: “On the fourth day, we were told we would have to vacate the premises because they took the medical staff from us and put them down to the flights that came in the last two days.”
He said: “We feel we’re at risk right now because we’re out in the open.”
Another man added that his group had been stopped three times by police cars in Hamilton.
He said: “Police keep stopping us, but we told them, call your superiors because a list has gone to the police station with all our names.”
Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said last night that people in the shelter would be able to stay on the school field or under the covered area on the school’s lower level while outside the building.
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