by Erin Silver
According to estimates by the Salvation Army, there are about 200 people who identify as homeless in Bermuda. While some use the island’s shelters regularly, many only seek refuge during storms.
The Salvation Army operates a daily shelter on North Street. Additional care is offered at CedarBridge Academy by the Bermuda government whenever there is a hurricane.
“The Soup Ministry coordinator will go into the city and surrounding areas and collect the homeless to take them to the emergency shelter,” said Beverly Daniels of the Salvation Army. “He always takes a change of clothing for those who may be in need. The Red Cross also sends a change of clothing and underwear as well.”
As explained by Ms Daniels, once at the North Street shelter people are provided with the following:
A bed to sleep, in as well as an opportunity for a shower.
Breakfast every day.
Case management through a programme called Pathway of Hope for those who wish to be in it. (The shelter hires a case worker for this purpose).
Before the shelters were created, homeless people remained wherever it was they happened to be during a storm. Even now, some refuse to move but there are many who are grateful for the services provided by government and charitable organisations.
“Both men and women are allowed to remain as needed. They must abide by the policies and procedures of the shelter. Those who can pay something will do so,” said Ms Daniels.
The pandemic changed protocols. Shelters now provide masks, hand sanitiser and there is ongoing cleaning.
At North Street, staff and clients are tested for Covid-19 every two weeks.
“We also had to move at one point to being a 24-hour shelter because our people were sheltering in place,” Ms Daniels said. “Our partners assisted with food that we picked up ourselves. We had to hire people to cover hours not budgeted for and had to take care of weekends. We stopped taking in new clients at the start of sheltering in place to avoid any impediments to physical distancing. However, we have reopened our doors again to anyone who needs to come in.”
If you’d like to get involved and provide food or clothing to help the homeless, donations are accepted at the following locations: the North Street Citadel, the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the St Vincent DePaul Society, a charity run through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton.