BVHS Newsletter June 2014June 12, 2014
Second Chance for the HomelessJuly 11, 2014
MON, MAY 19, 2014 – 12:01 AM
THE BARBADOS Vagrants and Homeless Society says it has helped around 50 people “change their lives” since 2011.
The organisation held an open day last Friday at its Tudor Street, Bridgetown office where some of the success stories from its At The Crossroads rehabilitation programme testified to those still undergoing the initiative.
Sherlon Leacock, 46, was able to proudly say he lives in Oldbury Terrace, Country Drive, St Philip. But there was a time he could not tell anyone he lived anywhere.
“That happened through financial situations leading you to the street, but then you get comfortable not having to pay rent or [utilities]. Saffrey [society president Kemar Saffrey] saw me at one of the feedings they have on Wednesday night and told me about the programme and I felt the need for a change. I had in my mind to hold down a steady job and to have the responsibility of owning my own home,” he said.
Leacock works as a security officer and is happier. However, he said the road was far from smooth.
“I went through the programme twice as the first time didn’t go so well but this time, it is going well. It was challenging at first; being confined for three months was hard. You couldn’t do as you like and they kept you inside to get reacquainted with living in a house, but it taught you responsibility. Now my life is stable, I am no longer drifting,” he said.
Leacock said he now told others: “If you are out there – nobody looking out for you, dealing with a drug problem – this programme offers you a chance to turn your life around but only if you really want to change.”
Tamika Nicholls is also much happier today but she still has to achieve her goals.
“My goals are to get into housekeeping, learn sign language and to get a driving licence,” she said.
Nicholls also met Saffrey via the society’s feeding programme. She said At the Crossroads was a “wonderful” experience.
“My life was bad before. My family and friends did not want to help me but now I live in Deacons, St Michael. If you are on the streets, come and join the programme; go to church and give your life to God and don’t give up because life is hope,” she said.
Pierre Hinds, of Milfield, St George, also works as a security officer. “In 2012 I was a deportee from the United States but immigration couldn’t get in touch with my family here so I had to stay overnight. One of the officers said they got in touch with somebody and that’s when Kemar and his team came to talk to me and bring me into the programme,” he said. (CA)