September 15, 2014 — St. Anne’s Church in Kingston, Jamaica, is helping the elderly find affordable housing — right on the parish grounds. St. Anne’s pastor, Jesuit Father Rohan Tulloch, has repurposed a plot of land behind the church to provide low-rent houses for elderly members of the community in need.
"In the inner-city communities, especially, the elderly are not really well cared for. They tend to lack proper, accommodation and medical care, and we were concerned," said Fr. Tulloch.
"All we ask of them is $500 [approximately $4.50 U.S. dollars] each month to help cover the cost for cooking gas. The church takes care of all the other expenses, like water and light," said Fr. Tulloch.
Although there are approximately 50 elderly people in need of homes, the parish property could only accommodate six houses. Fr. Tulloch is hopeful that the church will be able to acquire another plot of land nearby to accommodate everyone in need.
The 119-year-old church also provides health care, food packages, transportation to the hospital and care for shut-ins.
"We also want to reach out to the men on the corner who are unemployed, and, for this, we want to start a chicken-coop project using a plot of land that we already have to build a coop and supply it so that we can actually have them rear their own chicken, along with a vegetable garden, and move from that to starting a restaurant so that they can have something to generatefrom,” Fr. Tulloch said.
Fr. Tulloch said while it is often difficult dealing with the pressure of the violence and poverty plaguing the area, he is heartened by the goodness he sees shining through in the people.
"Life is hard; it is difficult. So, as a parish, we try to reach out and do as best as we can,” he said. “But this is not about charity. It is about empowerment." [Source: The Jamaica Gleaner]