Indications are that there are increased numbers of homeless people in Bermuda and the charities are hard pressed to keep up with the needs, so how is it that a government that claims to care about its people does not ensure that an emergency shelter, even a makeshift one is open during a hurricane?
Acting National Security Minister, David Burch recently said during an update that the emergency shelter at Cedarbridge Academy would not be open and that people needing shelter from Hurricane Lee should contact the “appropriate agencies” for help. While it is concerning that the emergency shelter was not open to receive people in need, the public was not even given the names of the agencies that could assist them – information should have been given in Min Burch’s statements, and announcements on the radio, the news and other media would have at least let people, especially vulnerable groups, know that they were thought about and directed them to specific places.
While operating the shelter at Cedarbridge is a costly undertaking, and my understanding is that certain conditions needed to be met to do so, this is not Bermuda’s first hurricane so there at least needed to be a clearly communicated plan (via radio, television, targeted word of mouth campaigns to vulnerable groups etc.) setting out to the public agency names so people know what was available to them, especially since the primary facility at Cedarbridge that most are familiar with would be closed.
Currently, there is another storm brewing that may possibly come in our direction in a week or so, and while at this time it is too early to tell if it will directly impact us, my hope is that if it does become a real concern that the government will ensure that the shelter at Cedarbridge is open but if it is not, at least the public, especially those who do not have access to social media and the internet are made aware of the options for shelter because leaving people to “figure it out” when they need help most is certainly not the best we can do for our people.