Urban Renewal Utilizes Assets to Help Effect Community Change

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Kellen Russell (third from right) with members of the Urban Renewal team, prior to distribution of the care packages. (Urban Renewal Photo)

 Officials from the Urban Renewal Commission, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, recently distributed care packages to 900 families residing in the urban communities of New Providence where Centres are located. They included Bain and Grants Town, Centreville, Englerston, Fort Charlotte, Fox Hill, Free Town, Nassau Village, Pinewood and St. Barnabas. Care packages were also delivered to a number of Senior Citizen facilities. Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell said there are times when families in the urban communities may need assistance for a short period of time outside of the scope of the Department of Social Services. He said it is during these times that the Urban Renewal Commission can step in and assist those families.

Minister Campbell said as both entities “basically serve” the same group of persons and fall under the scope of the same Minister, there will naturally be opportunities for collaborations “in the best interests of Bahamian families from time to time.” “It’s not a duplication of efforts,” Minister Campbell noted. “Rather, it’s simply a matter of two agencies that fall under the scope of the same Minister and the same Ministry complementing each other and combining some of their assets to effect positive change within our communities as opposed to being in competition with one another,” Minister Campbell said. “Opportunities for these types of collaborations between Urban Renewal and the Department of Social Services, from time to time, can only be a plus,” Minister Campbell added.

Acting Director of the Urban Renewal Commission, Mr. Kellen Russell, said the beneficiaries of the care packages were identified during the usual walkabouts through the communities conducted by Centre Managers and Staff. That information, Director Russell said, is then forwarded to the relevant government stakeholders in order to effect positive change for residents of the urban communities. “The Department of Social Services does a great job in meeting the needs of many in our communities, but when you look at the size of some of the households within those communities, that assistance – particularly food assistance – can be dispatched of within a short period of time,” Mr. Russell said.

“The persons (who received the gift packages) were identified by the Centre Managers and the Staff of the Centres and included the elderly, single mothers and/or participants in some of the many programmes that we run at the Centres. “The walkabouts provide us with a great source of information with regards to who is in need and what are some of the things that need to be done to address the concerns/deficiencies of or in those communities. We are then able to meet with the relevant agencies in order to get those needs addressed. “With our link to Social Services, we will have an idea, we will have an understanding, we will have the necessary intelligence that will cause us to understand who the persons are in the urban communities who have a real need, [so] that we can extend our hands to them thereby making services accessible to these communities,” Acting Director Russell added.

Team members of the Urban Renewal Centres distribute care packages during a recent initiative by the Urban Renewal Commission. (Urban Renewal Photo)

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