Homeless still survive in shelters

Plans are in the works to relocate several East End shelter residents before Christmas.

As of last week, 29 people remained at the East End Civic Centre. Deanna Look Loy, head of the Department of Children and Family Services, said while some are still waiting for their homes to be repaired, the majority are homeless.

She said several families will soon be returning to Lyndhurst Apartments, which are owned by the Department of Social Services. Public Works has restored four units and are nearing completion on the remaining two units.

The Department has also rented a home in West Bay that will accommodate three to four individuals.

She said efforts are being made to secure travel trailers as temporary accommodation for some of the shelter residents as well as homeless families in the districts. An initiative of the Cayman Islands Recovery Operation, the trailers are intended as a bridge to help tenants return to their homes or rental units. Cabinet has approved the purchase of 50 to 75 trailers, which will be phased in according to demand. The first 10 are expected to be available in the New Year.

Churches have been assisting the department with housing recovery efforts. Volunteer crews have repaired two homes so far and are currently working on restoring several more.

‘It’s been a big help. The community has been assisting us in many ways, and we want to thank them for that.’

Look Loy said the department has identified 75 families throughout the districts that are homeless, which includes the East End shelter residents. She said many are staying in housing that is not fit to live in.

An urgent need is to find accommodation for four elderly East End shelter residents who were temporarily relocated to Sammy’s Airport Inn with residents of the Pines Retirement Home, who have since returned to the long-term care facility.

‘They have nowhere to go. We are searching frantically for accommodation for them and for the remaining persons at the shelter.’

Look Loy said it’s been a tough time for shelter residents who have been living in temporary quarters since the hurricane.

‘We’re doing the best we can for them but it isn’t easy to live in that setting for three months. Most of them really want more privacy now. They want to get back into some form of proper accommodation. They’re getting pretty depressed.’

Look Loy is appealing to the community for assistance. ‘I’m encouraging anyone who is aware of accommodation that we can access to contact us.’ The department can be reached at 925-5349 or 925-5350.