At-risk families ‘need help now more than ever’
A charity chairwoman and veteran child welfare campaigner said that the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of how much work was still needed to help struggling families.
Sheelagh Cooper added that a transitional living centre, expected to open later this year, would have made a significant difference to at-risk mothers and children in the pandemic crisis.
The Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda chairwoman said: “This is a time to remember that for many of our families here in Bermuda, the idea of ‘sheltering in place' has an entirely different meaning.
“For some, this too often means bunking in with many other families in often derelict or dangerous conditions, perhaps with broken windows, leaky roofs or mildew-infested conditions.
“These are often households headed by parents with marginal employment, low wages and are the very ones now no longer employed at all.”
Ms Cooper added: “While many of us stock up at the grocery stores, these families continue to suffer the insecurity of when the next food source will present itself.
“These are the families with whom we partner. They are going to need our hand up now more than ever.”
The charity is aiming to restore neighbourhoods one home at a time through a programme of renovations.
Ms Cooper explained: “At Habitat, we have worked hard since 2000 to address the often-overwhelming challenge of shoring up the supply of adequate, yet affordable, housing.
“But it is times like this that we realise just how insignificant our contribution has been, compared to the magnitude of the task at hand.”
Ms Cooper said: “We are working hard to complete the renovations necessary to open the Transformational Living Centre for Families — a project we are doing jointly with the Women's Resource Centre.
“We are still several months away from opening our doors. I only wish it was ready to accept families right now, as it would have made such a difference to many.”
Work is under way at the former Pembroke Rest Home to make it a residential centre for a maximum of ten families, who would live there for up to a year while they are involved in programmes and services.
Ms Cooper said the TLC for Families was created because of the need for accommodation and support to help young women to get their lives back on track.
She added: “We have had tremendous support already from the community and have been blessed with scores of offers of help from local suppliers, which has made a huge difference to the cost of the project.
“The more support we receive, the sooner we will be able to open our doors. We would greatly appreciate your help.”
• Donations can be made to Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda through HSBC bank account 006-053177-001