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Families abandon patients at Safe Haven Centre

“Some of these families are very wealthy and we have reached out to some of them and we are still waiting to get assistance.” — Jaqueline Donovan. (BVI News Photo)

A number of families with relatives receiving care at the Safe Haven Transitional Centre have virtually abandoned these patients.

The facility, which is formerly known Sandy Lane Centre, assists chronically homeless individuals to develop skills and resources for independent living over a two-year period.

But, according to Director Jacqueline Donovan, in some cases, family members have left patients at the centre for more than 15 years.

In an exclusive interview with BVI News yesterday, Donovan appealed to these families to do more towards caring for their troubled relatives who are housed at the facility.

“They [family members] come to the centre and they say that they want their family member to come to the centre and they will offer support. But after we get them in, family forget about us,” Donovan said.

Wealthy families 

The Director said it is costly to provide the one-on-one personal care that some patients require daily.

And while she was unable to put a specific price on patient care, she said a small donation from families who can afford to would be helpful.

“We are not asking them to be part of their family’s life if they don’t want to, but at least contribute towards the centre financially – a little $25 or $50 so we can get personal things for them,” Donovan said.

She added: “Some of these families are very wealthy and we have reached out to some of them and we are still waiting to get assistance. And a lot of people give up on their families and say they are tired of it, or the government should do it, or the individuals are big enough to look after themselves. It is unfair – government cannot do everything.”

However, she said the centre empathizes with the few families who genuinely cannot afford to contribute.

Families shutting their doors 

Donovan also mentioned another troubling issue.

She said family members of patients who are able to transition back into society are unwilling to house these patients in their homes.

“Some of their families have homes but they don’t want them at their homes with them. Even though we tell them we will guide them for a period. And now that Irma came, everybody making an excuse that they don’t have a house roof or the house got destroyed.”

“My staff enjoy what they do but sometimes it can be frustrating for them,” Donovan admitted.

“We want the community and family members to become more involved.”

Government’s intervention needed

The Director of Safe Haven Transitional Centre is now calling on government to intervene.

“I think something definitely needs to be put in place for individuals who are able to contribute. The government needs to put their foot down and do background checks, and those who are able to contribute should do so.”

She further called on government to consider developing a long-term facility for patients.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

13 Comments

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  1. Michael says:

    This is shameful. The Director of the centre should have to do this. People have a habit of abandoning their family members expecting government to take care of them for ever. This is nonsense. Matter of fact it’s heartless. I can understand where people might be unable to assist financially but for those who can, they should do better.

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  2. Seer says:

    BVI STRONG hahahahahahaha

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  3. Island man says:

    I always say and just can’t understand.
    How can one mother take care of 5 children and why can’t 5 children take care of one mother? It puzzles me with amazement; especially knowing that the children are successful and well off. Anyhow everyone has a day to come;
    Just take care of your parent people! I beg please.

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  4. Justice says:

    Not the only government institution where persons are abandoned smh

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  5. Hmm says:

    This problem will only continue to get worse unless the government enacts some serious regulations and actually follow them.

    A lot of people are overwhelmed by the amount of effort it takes to care for another but that’s not reason to just shirk the responsibility. People abandon their families in the Virgin Islands all the time and some people even think they’re entitled to it.

    So many people are abandoned by their family and the family isn’t seen or heard from until that person dies. Then suddenly there’s a will and a fight over property. That is wrong on so many levels. Your elderly parents haven’t stopped being human beings just because they are old. A lot of these people are missing their family. Not to mention the burden it puts on the public and the budget

    I personally think the government should be allowed to seize the private property these individuals own as payment for their care when abandoned by their family. According to how their family acts, there’s no one for them and where do private estates end up when there is no heir? In the hands of the government.

    It’s truly a disgrace to see this happening.

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  6. John says:

    They probably want the government to handle it. That seem to be the mentality of people in the BVI.

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    • CW says:

      That’s the mentality around the “developed world”. Warehousing the old people so they can go about their lives unburdened. Always remember you will be old and warehoused soon enough if you don’t stop this nonsense! Social programs like this are abused when nobody holds the abusers accountable. That is what the government needs to do. Nothing else. Make rules that fix problems and enforce them. Of course, this is BVI. Good luck with that. One word describes 98% of the problems in Nature’s Little Secrets:. ENTITLEMENT

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  7. Sam the man says:

    Sad to hear this it seems that selfishness and hypocrisy remains an issue – maybe people should examine themselves honestly before they go to church and not just continue the mascarade

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  8. MASSIVE says:

    There is no reason to protect these abusers. Names should be published.

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  9. Makmood says:

    Missson ayo tek down my picture! I man was taking a 5 before I go back to work and eating lunch!

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