A part of the solution to the homelessness caused on Grand Bahama and Abaco by Hurricane Dorian is to create rent-controlled, affordable housing out of repossessed properties, real estate broker Mario Carey has suggested.
In a press release issued yesterday, Carey, the president of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate MCR Bahamas Group, suggested that the government should incentivize investors to purchase these distressed properties.
Carey further suggested that the costs and fees associated with the sale of these properties, as long as they are being used for this specific purpose, be waived.
Carey said thousands of repossessed properties on New Providence and other islands sit vacant while evacuees sit displaced in shelters.
“There are so many who lost loved ones or everything they had,” said Carey.
“Even as the tragedy continues to unfold, we need to develop a plan for moving forward and that plan has to include housing in Nassau or elsewhere, as well as rebuilding Grand Bahama and Abaco.”
Carey said that right now housing is a priority.
“One of the first goals must be to find housing for the people who have been displaced, whether they are staying with those who opened their homes to them on a temporary basis or in a shelter,” he said.
“We need a longer-term solution and we have that solution. We have the inventory. It is sitting in bank foreclosures, maybe as many as 5,000 properties.”
According to Carey, it is essential that banks creatively offload these distressed properties en masse to investors who will offer low rental rates that will be covered by subsidies in the short term.
He added that unoccupied properties need to be renovated and occupied so that they do not lose their value, “so it makes sense when we are desperate for places for people to live to place them in a property that is sitting there, unoccupied”.
Carey also insisted that in the aftermath of Dorian, building codes will have to be strictly enforced on all the islands.
Carey has called for The Bahamas to be the “disaster relief capital of the region”, replete with a “relief and recovery headquarters with ready-to-go housing, food pantries, medical supplies, personal goods and heavy equipment”.