Nazareth Half-way House facility for mentally ill men
at 21 Duncan Street , Port of Spain , was formally opened
on December 15 th 1989 by then Minister of Social Development
and Family Services, the Honourable Gloria Henry. It
was the "brain-child" of
Marjorie Baptiste, a psychiatric social worker and Steve
Solomon, former Executive Secretary of the Society of St.
Vincent de Paul .
When the Community Mental Health
Service was created in 1975, it had been assumed that
this would relieve the pressure on an already over-burdened
hospital system for bed space for the mentally ill.
fact, the continued high demand for institutional care
resulted in a situation in which patients were discharged
as soon as medical symptoms were controlled, in spite
of the fact that they may not have been ready for re-integration
For these persons, the options seemed
obvious enough - stay on the streets
or go back to St. Ann 's. So it was, that the Society of
St. Vincent de Paul , along with other voluntary organizations
was approached with a view to providing sheltered residential
accommodation for these special people - as yet too emotionally
disturbed to return to society and too much recovered to
benefit from institutional life.
The plan was to renovate the old Working men's hostel
and set up a facility to house some 56 residents whose
psychological disturbances had been brought under control
at the St. Ann 's Hospital and prepare them for the stresses
and demands of independent living.