Ghana begins construction of 600-bed hostel, skills centre for homeless people
London, Nov. 14, 2019 (AltAfrica)-The government of Ghana is to begin construction work on a 600-bed accommodation designed to house and provide needed skills for homeless people locally refereed to across Ghana as ‘kayayei’.
The hostel to be known as the Itumeleng Shelter or Happy Shelter, is designed to be the model of the first step in finding solutions to the nation’s housing problem, especially for the homelss, unemployed and youth selling on the streets in the city.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta who announced the project during the presentation of 2020 Budget proposal in Parliament on Wednesday said construction of the hostel would begin in December 2019 at Agbogbloshie, a suburb of Accra.
“Mr Speaker I am happy to announce that preparations are now complete and the construction of the first 600-bed ‘Kayayei’ hostel will commence in Agbogbloshie next month to provide accommodation and skills training to these vulnerable young women,” he said.
The initiative is among numerous campaign promises by President Nana Akufo-Addo before he was voted into power in 2016. Akufo-Addo is seeking re-election for a second term in office in next year’s general election.
According to him the finance minister, the idea behind the facility is to provide decent accommodation to the ‘Kayayei’-homeless people and save them from sleeping under perilous living conditions.
Meanwhile, ex-President John Mahama who is also a candidate in the 2020 general election described Akufo-Addo’s promise as insulting and asked him to find a better way of alleviating the hardships of the head potters.
He said: “Because you [Nana Addo] are desperate to win, you are promising free everything; I will give free healthcare to children under 18 years. It is being implemented already…He says he will give free hostels to ‘Kayayei.’
“That is the most insulting one. So our girls should remain there and continue to carry people’s goods. If you have a sickness, you must go to the cause of the sickness; you don’t treat the symptom.”
He then promised that if he is retained as President after the 2016 elections, his administration under his watch will train about 10,000 ‘Kayayei’ for employment.
President Akufo-Addo earlier in 2019 directed the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) to give ‘Kayayei’ in the country an amount of GH¢2 million.
According to the Chief Executive of NEIP, John Kumah, the said amount was to serve as seed capital for the head porters to be able to start their own businesses.
He said that his outfit, in collaboration with the Business Development Ministry, was working to help transform the lives of head porters across the country.