More than 400 approved for home repair assistance

More than 400 people have been approved for home repair assistance in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, said Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Managing Director Katherine Forbes-Smith yesterday.

In February, the authority launched its Small Home Repair Programme for individuals affected by Dorian — a deadly Category 5 storm that ravaged Abaco and Grand Bahama in September.

According to Forbes-Smith, 3,137 individuals have set up user profiles since the program’s launch.

“Of those 3,137 profiles, 2,069 homeowners have completed the full registration for assistance,” she said.

“Of the 2,069 homeowners registered, 804 need structural assessments; 471 need to upload documents; 404 have been approved, have met all the criteria, have structural assessments done, so they’re completed and ready to go.

“We are still waiting on 89 percent of homeowners to bring in their quotes, so they can purchase their materials, labor or accommodation or both; 64 percent is Grand Bahama [and] 25 percent for Abaco.”

Forbes-Smith appealed to homeowners, who were impacted by Dorian, to bring in their quotes from approved vendors “so we can get you organized and you can get the work started on your home”.

“To help this program along, we have rapid assessments going on in Grand Bahama and Abaco as we speak,” she said.

“As the program develops, we will have firm numbers regarding where the majority of the spend will be in the damaged categories.

“Right now, it looks like Grand Bahama will have a high number of homes with minimal damage and Abaco major damage.”

Under the program, residents whose homes were assessed with minimal damage are eligible for $2,500 in purchase orders; medium damage is eligible for $5,000 in purchase orders; major damage is eligible for $7,500 in purchase orders; those whose homes were destroyed are eligible for $10,000 in purchase orders.

Dorian caused $3.4 billion in damage and losses.

The storm killed at least 74 people and left dozens missing.

It impacted nearly 30,000 people.

Yesterday, Forbes-Smith said the authority is working on “immediately developing” 55 lots in Central Pines, Abaco, for single and multi-family use.

“We are in the process of having properties from the Ministry of the Environment and Housing transferred to the authority,” she said.

“It is hoped these units provide much-needed rentals and housing for people already on the island and those seeking to return. Additionally, the authority is working on the development of two 60-acre tracts. The surveyor general has confirmed the preliminary survey is complete.

“The final plans and topography are being properly documented, so the information can be included in an RFP (request for proposal) we plan to issue by the middle of April.

“It is hoped work would begin on this initiative in the third quarter of this year. It is envisioned that the developments will showcase innovative housing solutions that are sustainable, eco-friendly, energy efficient and meet with our goal of building back better.”

Forbes-Smith said both local and international developers will be invited to provide “solutions” for the 60-acre tracts.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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