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Public rally round after centre for homeless women hit by thieves

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Sheelagh Cooper, chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity, inside the Transformational Living Centre for Families after thieves stole $10,000 worth of appliances from the site (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Charity leaders yesterday said that they were overwhelmed by the public’s reaction after thieves stole $10,000 worth of appliances from an under-construction centre for vulnerable families.

Habitat for Humanity, which is building the Transformational Living Centre for Families with the Women’s Resource Centre, added that it had got several calls from people who wanted to make donations after they read of the break-in.

Sheelagh Cooper, the chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity, said: “We continue to be amazed by the community support for this project.

“In our disappointment, we focus on all of the generosity that Bermuda is so famous for and that will carry us through all of this.”

Elaine Butterfield, the executive director of the Women’s Resource Centre, added: “We are most encouraged by the outpouring of support received after the most inconsiderate theft from the construction site.

“We would like to thank the community for the tremendous outpouring of support.

Ms Butterfield added: “We look forward to moving beyond today and towards the realisation of our project – to provide a nurturing, supportive and safe residence for homeless families in Bermuda.”

Sheelagh Cooper, chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity, inside the Transformational Living Centre for Families after thieves stole $10,000 worth of appliances from the site (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The two were speaking after the centre, on Parson’s Road, Pembroke, site, was targeted last Saturday night by at least two thieves with a truck who stole two washing machines, a clothes dryer and nine ceiling fans, which were ready to be installed.

Shocked volunteers discovered the theft after they arrived at the site around 7.30am last Sunday to carry out landscaping work.

The former care home is being refurbished as a home and resource centre for up to ten women and their families.

The TLC for Families was the 2018 brainchild of a think-tank of 18 charities and government agencies which identified the significant scale of homelessness among mothers and children, as well as an urgent need to tackle the problem.

The centre will also other services such as counselling and training.

Ms Cooper said: “We are just devastated that there are folks out there that would take from the most vulnerable segment of our economy.

“So many mothers and children are looking to us for a chance to have a consistent roof over their heads, a warm bed to sleep in and an opportunity to exhale for a bit, regroup and take some time to explore their strengths and heal from the trauma of homelessness.”

Sheelagh Cooper, chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity, inside the Transformational Living Centre for Families after thieves stole $10,000 worth of appliances from the site (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The charities appealed for anyone offered Hunter-brand ceiling fans, or Samsung-brand washing machines or a Samsung dryer at a cheap price to contact police.

The project was at first expected to cost about $1.3 million, but donations and volunteer work allowed the charities to complete about 80 per cent of the restoration at almost 50 per cent of the cost.

A police investigation into the theft has been launched.

Anyone with information that could help the inquiry should contact 211 or the main police number on 295-0011.

Donations to the TLC for Families can be made through HSBC account 010-250041-012.

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Published March 02, 2021 at 9:03 am (Updated March 03, 2021 at 9:31 am)

Public rally round after centre for homeless women hit by thieves

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