Number of welfare-dependent renters increases substantially Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Dire living circumstances have led to increased demands for housing to the Welfare Department.

Minister of People’s Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey disclosed the Welfare Department has increased their rent payments by almost 80 per cent.

…rent payment has increased between 2018 and 2022 by almost 80 percent, from $1.08 million to $1.9 million.

While speaking at the National Task Force on Homelessness meeting held at the Radisson Aquatica Resort Hotel on Wednesday, the Minister said the Welfare Department pays rent for approximately 300 people across the island.

“I would also like to say to you that the Welfare Department pays rent now for about 300 persons across Barbados, from different houses, [and] different departments. And of course, there are still a number of persons who are coming forward seeking the Government’s support for assistance with rent and that rent payment has increased between 2018 and 2022 by almost 80 per cent, from $1.08 million to $1.9 million.”

“So there is great evidence that there are circumstances that are driving people to seek housing and that we must be able to address those circumstances,” the Minister contended.

The Minister of People Empowerment reported the Department’s clientele has doubled over the past three years, to more than 6, 000.

“It is clear to me that there has been a great pressure placed on Barbadians over the last few years. COVID has done us no real feat. The Welfare Department will tell you that our statistics show that we went from 3,000 plus clients to 6,000 plus clients, almost a doubling of the clients that we see at the Welfare Department. Persons who came forward for support during the course of the last few years, the pressure has been immense,” he noted.

Minister Humphrey added that the Government might need to review the welfare grant, recognising the constraints persons were facing.

“You might also recall that the Government had increased the welfare grant by 40 per cent to make sure that people were able to deal with the challenges but in the circumstances since COVID, even that may now need to be reviewed.”