Lancaster House. (FP)

Lancaster House will bridge the gap between impending homelessness and the ability to secure a permanent housing solution for dislocated persons.

Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, shared this view today at the opening ceremony for the Lancaster, St. James, site. The ceremony coincided with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which falls on June 15 each year.

Lancaster House is intended to provide temporary accommodation, primarily for elderly persons, and others who have been dislocated by fire, flood or other related circumstances.

“When persons are suddenly displaced, the response and intervention of family and community is often expected.  These entities sometimes have their own constraints.  The allocation of resources by the government for the renovations and maintenance of Lancaster House recognises that there must be a systemic and structured response to issues impacting vulnerable elderly persons. Hence, the emphasis cannot always be on the individual, familial or community responses,” Mr. Blackett stated.

He explained that Lancaster House was a “holistic approach” to providing a supportive environment for dislocated persons as they cope with their various challenges.

“The focus will not only be on providing temporary accommodation but through social work intervention, clients will be provided with counselling and the coordination of services to facilitate their resumption of independent community living in the shortest possible time,” the Social Care Minister pointed out.

Lancaster House commenced operations in August 2015, but over time, the facility could not function at its maximum capacity given the outstanding upgrades needed to the structure.

“The provision of accommodation had to be balanced with the obligation to create an environment where occupants were provided with an acceptable standard of living.  Over the past year, remedial work to the facility continued with the support of a monetary gift from the People’s Republic of China,” he disclosed.

Renovations included an upgrade of the entire plumbing system; the installation of protective bars at all windows on the upper level of the building; the repair and painting of the window hoods; the replacement of guttering; the cleaning and painting of the roof; and the installation of an entrance gate.

Mr. Blackett extended his gratitude to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados, Wang Ke, and her Embassy, for their donation and continued support.

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