SHAMEFUL JAMAICA : Rugged living on the streets of downtown Kingston.... How homeless men and women struggle to stay alive

 BY JEDIAEL CARTER Staff reporter carterj@jamaicaobserver.com  Sunday, April 30, 2017

Life might not have been the most polished, but it was comfortable.  
His closet was filled with an assortment of desert Clark's (his preferred shoes), fitted jeans and “nice clothes” that he wouldn't dare wear now.

His meals were sure and more balanced than what they are currently.
But everything changed when his partner since the early 1980s went blind and the bills kept raking in. The odd jobs on construction sites were not enough, since his lady was now unemployed. Life became difficult; no longer could he be as dependent on the woman who held a steadier job. 
It would be emasculating to expect her to still be able to “give him a ting (money)” whenever he needed. So he made a decision: he would “tek to di streets.”
A 55-year-old man originally from West Kingston has made King Street in downtown Kingston his home. A difficult decision yes, but he's sticking by it. 
“Me cyaan go back an' pressure di old lady,” the man who identified himself as PorkBone reasoned, while laying on a piece of cardboard along a slab of concrete behind the post office. “Dat nuh fair to her.” 
You pass them daily, some wearing tattered, unsightly clothing, lying on the ground, sometimes covered with cardboard — the homeless. As you can imagine, it is a tough life. 
The Board of Supervision (for the relief of the poor in Jamaica) under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Government found in 2012 that there are 1,075 homeless individuals roaming the streets of Jamaica. The most recent study, completed last year, has not yet been released.
The board categorises homeless as a person “who resides in places not meant for human habitation — cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings, and on the street; an emergency shelter; transitional and supportive homes for homeless persons who originally came from the streets or emergency shelters; in any of the above places, but is spending a short time (up to 30 consecutive days) in a hospital or other institution; has been evicted within a week from a private dwelling unit; has been discharged within a week from an institution, such as a mental health or substance abuse treatment facility or a jail/prison”.
While outlining that there may have been under counting, the survey found that the men numbered 913 (86 per cent), while women tallied 144 (14 per cent). 
Kingston and St Andrew recorded the highest level of homelessness, with 514 persons being surveyed, while St James followed with 138. more

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