The Government of Dominica continues to make housing a priority for citizens.
In 2017 Hurricane Maria devastated ninety percent of Dominica’s housing stock leaving many persons vulnerable and homeless.
Government acted quickly to ensure that all those individuals that were left without a home and were displaced will have their homes rehabilitated.
In October 2017, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, sought assistance from the World Bank in the sum of forty million US dollars to assist with the construction of six hundred homes under the Dominica Housing Recovery Project.
In August, an orientation was held for the first ninety beneficiaries and work on these homes should commence soon.
Nicholas Bruno is the Project Manager for the Dominica Housing Recovery Project.
“The project was designed in such a way to not only provide housing but also to strengthen the construction sector. There’s an element if the project that speaks heavily to supporting the Physical Planning department, to improve their infrastructure and to provide institutional strengthening considering that post Maria we had significant loss in the housing sector, it was felt that they also needed the support to help in the rebuilding effort. So the project was developed along the lines. The main development objective of the project was replacement of house damaged to the vulnerable groups, enhance the resilient building practices in the sector by working with contractors and ensuring that the codes were adopted and applied and to provide support to the people,” Bruno stated.
Bruno gave details of how this project will be administered.
“The project calls for the development of a management information system and we have actually developed that system. The MIS is meant to manage the process from application to final construction; so everything will be processed through the MIS. However, we have various procedures, so we have professional staff to help with those. We have also the design and supervision firm which will be responsible for finalizing the designs as well as supervising every construction,” Bruno explained.
Over the years Government has assisted thousands of individuals with the construction and rehabilitation of homes through the government housing revolution. This programme on the other hand differs slightly as government looks to empower small home owners.
“The different in scope is on two levels. One level is very targeted. It is targeting small home owners who lost their houses and you want to re-empower them. And the second part of the level is developing the building sector itself. So while the project does provide support for homeowners, it also provide support for institutional strengthening of the legislative framework. It also provides some sort of training through execution for the builders and contractor to ensure that they follow the resilient building practices. So it does provide repairs to houses, but it also goes a little deeper in the whole infrastructure of construction and how we can improve that,” the Project Manager noted.
Bruno gave the criteria for those willing to apply for assistance under the housing recovery project.
“The project is targeted to residents and it has a number of criteria that you need to meet in order to qualify to be a beneficiary. One of it was that your house needed to be five hundred square feet or less. You would have had to have no endurance on the house. You would have had to be living in the house and the house would have had to be your primary residence. We had a criteria that if you had received prior support then you would not have qualified. That has since been amended to support not exceeding 10,000 EC dollars,” Bruno further added.
The project is expected to be completed by 2023.