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Butler-Turner: Initiatives in place to help unemployed

The government has implemented special initiatives to help ease the financial burden of persons who became unemployed, or were placed on reduced working hours, as a result of the economic downturn.

During the monthly meeting of the Rotary Club of Southeast Nassau on Wednesday, December 15, Minister of State for the Ministry of Labour and Social Development Loretta Butler-Turner said the government has committed much to social outreach and social development and will continue to do so as circumstances dictate.

“The Department of Social Services of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development is the principle agency that administers the country’s social safety net programs, and the government has ensured that adequate funds are allocated annually for these,”Mrs Butler-Turner said.

The programs include: Food assistance, rent assistance, assistance with utility payments, a disability allowance for children who are not yet eligible for invalidity assistance from the National Insurance Board, small house repairs for senior citizens and persons with disabilities, foster care allowance, uniform allowance, fire relief and burial assistance.

“Persons take full advantage of these programs and in New Providence in the last six months, the department expended$259,000 for utility payments;$427,420 in rental assistance and$118,000 for the special disability allowance for children,”Butler-Turner said.

In New Providence for food assistance, which is the most utilised of all the programs, just over$2 million was expended at one supplier between July and October in 2010, and just under half a million at another supplier between July and mid-November in 2010, she added.

During the Christmas Season the Department of Social Services does not create special assistance programs. However, Butler-Turner said numerous churches and civic organizations request that the department identify individuals and families in need so as to make special presentations to them to make the season brighter.

“We are always happy to assist with such requests and the families are greatly appreciative of the extras and those items that the department may not be able to supply,”she said.

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