The newly launched Urban Renewal Small Home Repairs program will inject $2.6 million across the country to repair the homes of those most in need and “crying out for help”, Minister of State for Social Services and Urban Development Lisa Rahming said yesterday.
“The urgency to do this now is that the hurricane season is fast approaching,” she said during a press conference at Urban Renewal’s Collins Avenue headquarters.
“Can you imagine persons who have lost their jobs, they don’t have a dollar to fix their roof and what they are thinking right now?”
Rahming said the Urban Renewal Commission has already received hundreds of applications from residents across the country seeking help to fix their homes.
Commission Chairman Stephen Dean praised the program and said it will be transparent and fair.
“We are constantly going to be on them (contractors) to make sure that work is being done,” said Dean, a former senior police officer.
“This isn’t the case where you pay out money and you can’t see the work be done. Full payment will be when we come and inspect and say it was done, when grandma is happy and satisfied that work is being done.
“We will have monitors out there. Myself and the team we will be going out there …”
He added, “… We are going to try our best to be as prudent and vigilant for those persons who might be unscrupulous.
“You know with my background, I will try use some of that.”
Applicants will need to prove that they own the home in question, Dean said. He said a team of inspectors will visit the homes and make a determination. Contractors must be Bahamian, have a valid business license and a tax compliance certificate that is up to date, he added.
Dean said the program will do more than fix roofs, but repair bathrooms, paint, and manicure lawns if the need arises.
“[For the] people who are in need, we can gladly say that relief is on the way,” he said.
Residents from any island can submit an application to any Urban Renewal office.