Families receive temporary housing domes in Spring City

The Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) on Thursday, April 2, handed over temporary housing domes in Spring City, Abaco, to eight families.

The Authority has prioritized providing temporary housing due to the extensive damage caused On Abaco and Grand Bahama by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.

The Authority identified 32 families in Spring City who met the criteria for temporary housing.

To qualify, the applicants’ homes had to have been destroyed; the homeowner must be Bahamian; and priority was given to seniors, the disabled, families with minor children and those with difficult socioeconomic situations, as determined by the Department of Social Services.

The domes are ready for the other 24 selected families. However, they are currently off island. The Authority will announce a date in the near future to release those keys.

“We are very happy that the residents of Spring City were able to receive keys to their domes today,” said Katherine Forbes-Smith, managing director of the authority.

“Some of the residents are not on the island but we do have a list of names of 32 persons who have been contacted and will continue to be contacted over the next two days.

“This process has been a long and difficult one for many people whose homes have been destroyed. I think they were very happy to receive these domes because for the persons who live in Spring City, they want to be able to live close by their homes, so in the rebuilding process they can keep an eye on their homes while they are rebuilding.”

The state-of-the-art domes can accommodate four to six people.

“The domes are the most resilient solution for temporary housing,” said John Michael Clarke, DRA chairman.

“According to the manufacturer, they are built for extreme environments, able to withstand 180-mile-per-hour winds and have a functional life of 40 to 50 years.”

The domes are the property of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and were introduced as a temporary housing option after Hurricane Dorian. They will be available for disaster response in the future.

Residents cannot sell or rent out the domes.

Victoria Archer was happy to receive her keys.

“[I] really appreciate it. And whoever had their hand in this, I’m thankful and grateful,” she said.

“And thanks very much. And all the honor belongs to God.”

Natalie Hepburn-McCardy signed up for a dome, shortly after the storm.

“[T]oday is a very good day, a special day for me because I have been hoping and praying that this day would come true,” she said.

“I just thank you guys for your relief and everything else that you’re about to do with everyone else.”

Forty domes will be issued to East End, Grand Bahama, residents. Twenty domes were shipped today from the supplier. On April 16, the supplier is scheduled to ship 20 more domes for East End.

More than 100 domes are en route to Abaco for other displaced residents of the mainland and cays.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made work more challenging in the disaster zones.

“There is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has really caused some interruption in what we’re trying to do,” said Forbes-Smith.

“But our phones are still ringing. Our data entry clerks are still taking in information and talking to persons who want to register for the Small Home Repair Programme. And so, we continue to work remotely, so that we are able to continue with the rebuilding process.

“We’re also very much concerned about safety. And so, we are promoting that on our construction sites where home repairs are going on. We just continue to do the best we can for the residents of Abaco and Grand Bahama.”

Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco and Grand Bahama with maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour. It was the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas.

It is estimated Dorian caused $3.4 billion in losses and damage.

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