Hurricane home repairs fund eyeing late-January start

The Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Reconstruction hopes to organize its system to start funding home repairs on Abaco and Grand Bahama by the third week in January, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness Iram Lewis said yesterday.

The total amount allocated by the government is $10 million.

“The $10 million allocated by The Bahamas government has not been released by the Reconstruction Trust as of yet,” Lewis said yesterday in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.

“Once the system is properly organized to ensure a fair distribution and accountability, the fund will be released to the supply companies in the form of vouchers for persons affected.”

Last month, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis indicated that the government is looking into creating The Bahamas National Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund.

He said that this trust fund will be an independent and non-political body to help fund home and building repairs.

He also explained that the proposed trust fund will provide the most vulnerable residents affected by natural disasters with up to a $10,000 grant per household to assist families by providing building supplies, labor or some combination of both.

Asked how many families will be able to benefit from this initiative, Lewis said the intention is to help all.

“The trust [fund] will have the ability to raise additional funds that will supplement the initial $10 million seeded by the government,” he said.

Lewis added that families will be funded based on the level of damage to their homes.

A recently released report on ongoing remediation and repairs to Grand Bahama structures damaged by Hurricane Dorian last week revealed that there are nearly 1,000 buildings still in need of repairs.

It also revealed that 537 buildings had work that was completed or ongoing, while there were still 980 buildings known to be awaiting remediation.

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