The Government of Dominica has approved more than $60 million so far to restore homes affected by hurricane Maria.
Speaking on Kairi FM’s Next Level Show on Tuesday, the Hon Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Housing, Dr Roosevelt Skerrit detailed some of the work government has do so far to restore housing.
“So far we have approved over EC $60 million in cash to citizens of Dominica, that is local resources, that is just to fix homes and that is outside of the procurement of building materials,” he said.
He said Government has stepped in to assist citizens who were vulnerable and unable to afford as well as the underinsured who were challenged in bearing the full cost of making their homes safe before the next hurricane season.
The finance minister admits that while not everyone has not yet been assisted as funds are disbursed in tranches, progress should be measured by the consistency of the interventions that Government has made so far.
“Every ten homes that are covered are ten less people who will be exposed to the elements and that is how we should measure the progress. It is not by covering every home, it is by having interventions that are consistent and that are placing people in a better position now than they were after the hurricane. Every family that we put into a home is progress, it’s a step in the right direction because this is one family less that will be homeless,” the Prime Minister said.
He gave the assurance that those who have not yet received assistance will be reached.
The cost of improving the housing stock which was almost totally destroyed by the hurricane is daily increasing. The finance minister said besides the EC$60 million approved, Government has also been supplying home owners with building materials. Earlier this year, the labour party administration had announced $17 million in building materials would be procured to assist citizens.
Another US$40 million is expected to go into housing, part of a US$65 million agreement recently signed with the World Bank.
Government has also committed to building one thousand climate resilient homes across the country beginning in the communities of Pointe Mitchel and the Kalinago Territory where a total of two hundred homes will be built for the indigenous people. In addition to this, the housing minister explained, contracts have been signed to build apartment complexes island wide.
“Since the hurricane we’ve also entered into arrangements with the developer that is building the homes in Bellevue Chopin to build apartments in many communities in Dominica. Contracts are signed, designs are approved, and lands are cleared or in the process of being cleared,” he informed.
These contracts will see the construction of 66 apartments each in Grand Fond, La Plaine and Delices
Sixty-six apartments will also be built in each of the communities of San Sauveur and Castle Bruce and thirty-three apartment units in the Mahaut constituency. Thirty-three apartments are slated for Hillsbourough Garden, St. Joseph and 63 for the community of Grand Bay.
Sixty-eight of an anticipated 150 to 200 units will be built in Picard, Portsmouth.
“In Roseau we are finalising the acquisition of the lands in Pound where we will do a first 139 and we will be looking at additional locations in the city because we intend to build 250 apartments in Roseau Central,” the nation’s leader divulged.
Government is also reconstructing a number of petro casas in Centre, Grand Bay, Stock Farm, Portsmouth and San Sauveur in full concrete. The Prime Minister said Government is spending $3 million to restore homes previously built by Government in the Kalinago Territory.