Director of Youth Mary Wilfred has spoken of the need for more data collection on homelessness among Saint Lucia’s young people.
“It’s an issue that we have stumbled on. There needs to be more data collected on it but there is a lot of social displacement taking place in the society and I think young people are a part of that because they form a very large part of our society,” Wilfred stated.
The Director of Youth spoke during the Government Information Service (GIS) programme ‘Issues and Answers.‘
She recalled that a young sports enthusiast informed her that he does not have a place to live and when she inquired, she discovered that social displacement was the issue.
“It was an issue of being socially displaced not having grown up with his parents and just not in a secure dwelling, having to depend on friends, or sleep under people’s houses. So this is an area we have noted and we would want to see what it is that we can do in order to respond,” Wilfred stated.
“Because one of the things young people would applaud any Ministry for is for responsiveness. We must be able to respond to their needs. We can’t be out there saying ‘We are here to help you’ and when the need comes up we cannot respond, ” the Director of Youth explained.
In this regard, she said there might be a need for conversation with the National Housing Corporation and the Ministry of Equity to foster collaboration since the Ministry of Youth cannot do it alone.
“We have to be able to collaborate with other agencies and address that issue. But we’re still in early stages. Right now it’s anecdotal – we don’ have any research but it really piqued out interest in terms of ‘Let’s see what’s happening with our young people and this issue of homelessness'”, Wildred told the GIS.