CAY HILL--Individuals and families experiencing emergency crisis situations in St. Maarten now will have access to temporary accommodation until they get back on their feet, thanks to the official opening of the Crisis Emergency Shelter in Yogesh Commercial Complex on Monday.
The recently formed Dr. J. Foundation officially opened the Crisis Shelter as one of its first major initiatives.
The Shelter is a two-bedroom apartment located on the upper level of Yogesh Commercial Complex.
Foundation President Dr. Judith Arndell said the intention of the Crisis Emergency Shelter was to provide temporary housing for families experiencing severe crisis situations such as losing their home to a fire or a disaster. The persons will be screened and, if qualified, will be able to stay in the home until they can get back on their feet.
The two-bedroom shelter is equipped with cots, a refrigerator, stove, self-contained bedrooms, living room, equipped kitchen and other facilities. A total of 12 individuals can be accommodated in the shelter, as 12 cots are available.
The intention is to equip the shelter with more facilities eventually, including a washing machine, a freezer and lockers so that persons staying in the facility will be able to store their personal effects safely. The objective is to also equip the shelter with toiletries for the use of its occupants who are in need. A future plan is to have a stock of clothing for persons who might need something to wear.
Arndell told guests at the launch on Monday evening that substance abusers and persons in need of medical attention could not be accommodated in the shelter and the facility was not equipped for their care. These persons will have to seek assistance from facilities that can help them directly. She said too that persons in situations that were not considered crisis also would not be accommodated.
She said the intention was for persons in a real crisis to have a place to rest their heads, get cleaned up and cook food to eat while they get themselves back on their feet. The foundation will work closely with the Department of Social Services, and persons who need to make use of these services will be directed to the relevant department for further assistance.
She said the goal was not for persons accommodated in the home to remain in the facility all day and not try to help themselves. Persons will be able to stay in the home for a maximum of six to 12 weeks. The foundation hopes to expand eventually.
Arndell explained that Dr. J Foundation had been formed after a group of five persons who had been meeting for Bible studies for more than a year had decided to do something substantial to help persons in the community who might need help. The group members started to pool their personal financial resources to help realise their goals and began donating food supplies that were given to persons in the community who needed assistance.
Dr. J Foundation was born later and the group decided to look for a home to help persons in crisis situations who might need accommodation. Thus far, the US $900 rent for the shelter as well as utilities and other expenses associated with the apartment are covered completely from the members’ personal funds.
The group is open to accepting donations and assistance to help in the execution of its voluntary activities. Donors may deposit funds to the foundation’s accounts at Windward Islands Bank (WIB) NAf. Account #08148-2807 or WIB US$ Account #08148-2709.
A silent auction of paintings coincided with last night’s launch to help raise funds for the foundation. In addition to housing the needy, the group’s focus will be to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, amongst other things.
The Foundation board comprises psychologist Arndell, Vice-President psychologist Aisheline Maduro, Treasurer Ives Daniel and members Dr. Lisette Maduro and Xiomara Valentina.
The Foundation can be reached at tel. 522-3311 or e-mail