–Human Services and Social Security Minister says
JUST under $60 million has been spent so far for the year by the Difficult Circumstances Unit (DCU) of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, to assist persons facing various unforeseen challenges.
In a recent interview with the Guyana Chronicle, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, said that on average, the ministry receives anywhere between 20-30 applications per day, with assistance requested across a wide range of areas.
“They get help with rent, funerals, and help with repairs to home, spectacles, help for children, hampers, we help fire victims and dialysis patients,” Dr. Persaud related.
The DCU was established to provide assistance to persons facing immediate difficulties or a crisis, and targets persons who are poor and vulnerable.
Forms of assistance available also includes assistance with small business startups, maternity kits, assistance with obtaining a police clearance, uniform for children and other help for struggling single mothers, assistance for medical procedures and even transportation fees.
“Lots of times you hear not much is being done, but people don’t know the numbers that come through here on a daily basis… every day we help. It’s a lot of people. I would say a couple thousands of persons we would have helped,” Minister Persaud said.
She related that a popular request has been for assistance in purchasing eye wear.
“With spectacles alone, almost 1,300 persons would have benefitted from our spectacles programme,” she said.
She noted that aside from receiving financial assistance directly from the DCU, when dealing with persons in need of specific assistance, the ministry could also tap into funding from other areas under its budgetary provisions .
“Sometimes they don’t directly come out of the difficult circumstances budget, sometimes we would even help under child care or trafficking in persons, or the domestic violence unit,” she said.
She noted, however, that there is no set amount for how much should be expended from the DCU, as aid is given based on the request.