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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Mar 14, 2017 - 5:36:53 PM

Social Services Continues To Assist at Shelter: More than 1,200 Residents Receive Help in Fire’s Aftermath
By Matt Maura, BIS
Mar 14, 2017 - 5:32:43 PM

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Social Workers (from left) Deborah Duncombe (Sr. Welfare Officer), Lisa Bowleg (Sr. Probation Officer) and Gillian Bethel (Assistant Director) from the Department of Social Services, Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, confer following an assessment exercise conducted in the Jubilee Gardens and Tall Pines Communities on Saturday, March 11, 2017 by officials from the Department of Social Services, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ministry of Works and Urban Development, Department of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Services and Ministry of Housing. Social Workers have been providing 24-hour service to ensure residents of both communities who have been evacuated receive social assistance. (BIS Photo/Matt Maura)

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Social Workers from the Department of Social Services, Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, will continue to provide extended hours assistance at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium for residents of the Jubilee Gardens and Tall Pines Communities.

The Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium was utilized not only as an emergency shelter service to facilitate families and/or individual residents needing emergency shelter services, but also as a Command Centre where residents could apply for assistance and complete the Department’s registration process.

The registration process allowed social workers to capture data relating to the names and number of persons in each affected household and in determining their needs with regards to food assistance, accommodations and “any other type of assistance they would need.”

Establishing the Command Centre at the Gymnasium allowed officials to provide assistance for the residents much more speedily. Those efforts were, and continue to be, coordinated from the Gymnasium by the Director of Social Services and her team of senior officers comprised of Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, Chief Welfare Officers, Senior Welfare Officers and Social Workers.

Social Workers were deployed “around the clock” at the Gym for six days (beginning Sunday, March 5) following the evacuations of residents from the Jubilee Gardens and Tall Pines communities. (Heavy smoke caused Emergency Management officials to evacuate residents as a precautionary measure.)

Their goal was to ensure that residents of those communities had access to all of the social services assistance available to them as part of the Government of The Bahamas’ social assistance network. They remained there “around the clock” for those initial six days, but have since been deployed at the Gymnasium up until 6:00 p.m. daily in the days following. They will remain on extended hours until the ‘All Clear’ has been given.

As of Sunday, March 12, three hundred and one Heads of Households (the affected areas are said to house 600 homes) sought assistance and participated in the registration process.

Each family/Head of Household who sought help and participated in the registration process received a wide range of assistance. In all, 875 adults and 393 children (a total of 1,268) persons were able to receive assistance as a result of the registration process. (Those figures are as of Sunday, March 12.)

“Many of them would have gotten an Emergency Food Coupon which would have assisted them with purchasing some personal items, because many of the food items would have been affected in the homes because of the smoke -- in addition to other forms of assistance,” Mrs. Quant-Forbes, Senior Deputy Director, Department of Social Services said.

“Of the 301 Heads of Household registering at the Command Centre, we were able to accommodate 41 families consisting of 162 persons at 9 hotel/motel establishments here in New Providence. The Church of God of Prophecy also made their facilities available for use for persons needing temporary housing accommodations,” Mrs. Quant-Forbes added.

Mrs. Quant-Forbes said information gathered at the Command Centre also allowed Social Services officials to collaborate with Health officials in securing medical assistance for those residents in need of medical attention.

“There were a number of residents who live in the areas who would have indicated that they were experiencing some challenges with upper respiratory issues, and so those were the persons we tried to not only seek medical attention for right away, but to also seek – in the initial stages – to relocate to other temporary accommodations,” Mrs. Quant-Forbes stated.


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