Social Development Minister promotes self-sufficiency at grant distribution

Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox, right, gives a grant to St Leo Henry, for improvements to the house-wiring for his home on Tuesday. 
The cheques are issued to assist those in need in making upgrades to the structure of their homes.  - Shane Superville
Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox, right, gives a grant to St Leo Henry, for improvements to the house-wiring for his home on Tuesday. The cheques are issued to assist those in need in making upgrades to the structure of their homes. - Shane Superville

Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox says her ministry is committed to providing services to improve the quality of life for all citizens, but has remindedthat encouraging economic independence is one of the government's core mandates.

She urged citizens to make full use of education to achieve a better standard of living.

She was speaking at a grant distribution ceremony for the National Social Development Programme (NSDP) at her ministry on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain, on Tuesday.

Cox said the grant was a valuable resource to those who needed to make urgent upgrades to their homes and encouraged those in need to apply for assistance.

Citing the impact of the covid19 pandemic, she said now more than ever, sustainable solutions to social development were needed and called on recipients to use training opportunities to further themselves and their families.

"While the government will continue to increase our efforts to reach out and offer our citizens a helping hand, there is a concommittant responsibility on all of us to re-examine our personal choices and seek out the means to which we can help ourselves and create enabling environments for sustainability."

She also reminded the different family units represented at the event that education was the key to becoming empowered and transitioning to a better standard of living.

"I therefore urge all recipients and by extension all our clients and beneficiaries of our grants to ensure that your children are afforded the oppiortunity of a good education, as this will assist in moving your family forward and enhance your overall quality of life and well-being."

Cox also said the ministry will partner with the private sector to allow basic skills training for those in need to create more economic independence.

Recalling her experience as an MP visiting constituents; homes, Cox said a collaborative approach between different arms of government was needed to tackle social issues.

Permanent secretary Jacqueline Johnson said she was optimistic the grants would go a long way towards improving the living conditions of the vulnerable in society and were in line with the ministry's national development strategy.

The grant is given to facilitate the improvement of homes, minor structural repairs, improvements in sanitation, plumbing or electrical wiring.

On Tuesday a total of $1,482,015 worth of grants were distributed to 107 households.

To qualify for the grant Johnson said applicants must be citizens and residents of TT, over 18, qualify from the ministry's means test and have the authority to repair the property they are using.

Applicants who receive senior citizens' pension, public assistance or disability grants also qualify.

If approved applicants can receive up to $15,000 in grants or $25,000 in cases of a natural disaster.

Those interested can apply using the ministry's website at www.social.gov.tt or call 623-2608, extension 1433.

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