News Release HAMILTON, Bermuda — HOME CEO Denise Carey says the non-profit’s vision of ending homelessness in Bermuda through a system-wide approach has moved forward after Bermuda’s Minister of Social Development & Seniors shone a light on the national collaborative effort to make progress happen.
In her statement in Bermuda’s House of Assembly on September 22, Tinée Furbert told MPs how multiple public, private, charitable, and business stakeholders had worked together for many months to bring the Homelessness Work Plan close to completion.
“We are thankful for Minister Furbert’s leadership and advocacy in helping to develop this plan, which represents a community declaration of intent to end the preventable human tragedy of homelessness in Bermuda,” Carey said.
The plan to end homelessness envisages a whole-system approach, ensuring continued access to necessary services to support sustainable stability. HOME adopts a data-driven, evidence-based approach to inform its strategic priorities. Inputs to the plan include insights gathered from more than 400 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Bermuda along with extensive research from 40 countries on strategies used to combat homelessness.
As described in Minister Furbert’s statement, the plan was developed by a Steering Committee established by HOME, which included community partners STARR/Lighthouse, Teen Haven, Transformational Living Centre, Salvation Army, Dignity House, Solstice and the Bermuda Housing Corporation. Representatives joined other government agencies and community partners to work together for months to detail the case for change.
Since June, a Homelessness Advisory Panel has met weekly to provide input, recommend actions, and strengthen the plan where needed. Carey and Furbert are Co-Chairs. Other members of the panel are: Justice Juan Wolffe, JP, Supreme Court of Bermuda; John Barritt, Bermuda Housing Trust; Dwayne Caines, CEO, Corporation of Hamilton; Sheelagh Cooper Habitat for Humanity; Sara Clifford, Human Rights Commission; Aaron Crichlow, Bermuda is Love; Pandora Glasford, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and the Cabinet Office; Andrew Dias, West End Development Corporation (WEDCo; Kirk Outerbridge, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Works; Paul Martin, Bermuda Housing Corporation; Laurie Shiell, Centre Against Abuse; Senator Lindsay Simmons, JP, Foster Care Association; Keechia Tuckett, Health Insurance Department; Lester Ward, Salvation Army.
“The immense support we have seen from so many fellow charities, helping agencies, businesses, donors and volunteers in the two years since HOME opened its doors has been truly humbling,” Carey said.
“Minister Furbert has put her shoulder to the wheel to maintain momentum, inspire unity and make this plan a reality. Her compassion for those experiencing homelessness is evident and we are grateful for the government’s support.”
Among the group’s recommended actions are:
• A rapid end to rough sleeping
• Systematic approach to homelessness data
• Sufficient accessible affordable housing
• Citizen-centric coordinated service delivery
The Advisory Group is seeking public input through the Community Survey on Homelessness, to be launched in the lead-up to World Homeless Day October 10. HOME urges members of the public to have their say on homelessness by filling out the survey, which is posted on the government’s Bermuda Citizens Forum at forum.gov.bm October 3–31.
Research by HOME identified a homeless population of 650 people in Bermuda, as of December 2022. At Black Circle on Union Street, Hamilton, HOME works with clients to ensure access to services they need and to provide the building blocks of a normal life, such as an ID, bank account and employment opportunities. In 2022, HOME provided intensive case management to 116 people and prevented 70 cases of homelessness.
To learn more about HOME, or to donate, visit the website, www.home.bm