I would like to commend and thank Mr. Michael Akin, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands, in his recently published editorial “A call to end homelessness in the VI” and ask that all Virgin Islanders support and help him by walking or running in the next St. Thomas Association of Road Runners (STAR) sponsored event this Sunday, November 17, 7:30 a.m. on the UVI soccer field with your donation of $7.00 to help support the Bethlehem House shelter. In addition donations of non-perishable food items will also be accepted.
National Hunger and Homeless Week is observed November 17-23 in the VI and approximately 5 out of every 1000 people are homeless in the VI which is almost double the national average. It was recently revealed in the Point in Time survey showing that we have over 360 chronically homeless people that are literally sleeping on our streets every day and over 170 of our fellow citizens living in shelters with nowhere else to go.
In addition to this critical need for shelter, we see the recent closure of Clear Blue Skies, a nonprofit for individuals who have been afflicted by mental illness. Our community and our lawmakers, must do more to protect those most in need. Also struggling is the sister residential property, Karen’s House (named in honor of my aunt, Karen Esannason). These are just a few agencies and nonprofits that are struggling to do all that they can in light of the many challenging issues that can overwhelm any community as ours.
So please come out and bring a friend to the next STAR race to help Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands and thank you once again to the racing association for continuing to help raise needed funds and bring awareness of the many social and physical needs of our home.