NASSAU, BAHAMAS – More than two months after Hurricane Dorian ripped through the northwest Bahamas, 150 Bahamian evacuees are facing eviction from a South Florida hotel.
The families have been staying in 30 rooms at the Inn Town Suites in Rivera Beach.
“Catholic Charities are assisting with new accommodations,” Consul General in Miami Linda Mackey said yesterday.
“They have provisions for up to three more months.
“It’s been a challenge the past nine weeks with funding for accommodations.”
She also noted Baker’s Bay has ended their assistance with Bahamian evacuees staying at the Hilton Palm Beach Airport as of October 31.
Dorian, the strongest storm to hit the northwest Bahamas, left thousands displaced, hundreds missing and at least 67 dead.
Following the storm, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed more than 4,000 evacuees from The Bahamas – the majority of whom were American citizens, according to a CBP official.
Mackey has said the consul is aware of over 300 Dorian evacuees living in limbo in the United States since the passage of the deadly Category 5 storm and noted that that number continues to grow daily.
More than two months later, Grand Bahama and Abaco remain in recovery mode without electricity and potable water in severely impacted areas.
While school-aged children have been allowed in public schools in the cities, the evacuees are not allowed to work as they only hold U.S. visitors’ visas.
Those Bahamians have been advised not to seek employment, which could jeopardize their visa status.
Vice President of the Palm Beach County Clergy Alliance (PBCCA), Dr. Linda Collymore told ABC 25 WPBF News last week that her team is working with a property owner to secure 10 to 15 apartments in the area for the displaced Bahamians.
Collymore said: “We have an estimated budget of about $18,000 a month that will be able to house these families and keep them over the course of seven months.”
Operation Kingdom International Inc., another Florida-based organization led by Collymore, has also set up an initiative called ‘Compassion Bahamas’ calling for donations and volunteers to help Bahamian evacuees.
According to the website, phase two of the organization’s assistance would include the building of container houses for those displaced residents.
Sample container home displayed on Operation Kingdom Internationals website for their Compassion Bahamas relief efforts