377 still reside in shelters in NP
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell said yesterday Hurricane Dorian shelters across New Providence will close at the end of the month.
He thanked all stakeholders who have played a role in the restoration effort since the devastation storm struck Grand Bahama and Abaco in early September, displacing thousands of families and killing at least 71 people.
“You would remember that at one point we were managing at least 15 shelters throughout the Commonwealth,” he said outside the House of Assembly.
“That was reduced to about 10 in New Providence and to date we still have two shelters — the one at Bahamas Academy on Wulff Road and Kendal GL Isaacs Gymnasium.
“We have continued to work to assist persons to move in with family members; to transition into rental units that we were assisting with and other persons to go back to their original islands
“I am pleased to announce that our work continues and the support that we would have gotten continues.
“You would have heard recently that we were in discussions with two properties. That was reduced to one. Those discussions continues, but we are making good progress, sufficient for me to be able to say that by the end of the month we will be in a position to deactivate the Kendal GL Isaacs Gymnasium and make it available for its original intent which is sporting activities.”
At last report, there were 281 people still residing in the Kendal GL Isaacs Gymnasium and fewer than 100 people at Bahamas Academy.
According to the minister, the Bahamas Academy will be the last of the shelters to close.
He said his ministry will continue to work displaced residents to facilitate rental assistance, and work alongside sister agencies toward transitional homes and temporary housing units in the affected islands will enable the ministry “in the shortest possible time to also deactivate Bahamas Academy”.
As it relates to a record of where shelterees have gone, whether to homes, family or otherwise, Campbell said he was confident the social workers and management of the shelters has those details, but he was unable to provide them off hand.
He reminded the public that the shelters were never intended to be detention centers, and as such shelterees where able to come and go as they pleased.
The government had hoped to have shelters in New Providence closed before the end of the Christmas season