MOORE’S ISLAND, ABACO – Residents of Moore’s Island, Abaco were updated at a town hall meeting Thursday on the benefits available to them through the Disaster Reconstruction Authority’s Small Home Repair Programme.
Katherine Forbes-Smith, Managing Director of the Authority, detailed the programme, while accompanied by a team of Government officials from the Department of In-land Revenue, Social Services and the Small Business Development Centre.
They outlined the wider benefits the Government has extended to those affected by Hurricane Dorian.
The Small Home Repair Programme has four categories through which vouchers are granted.
Residents whose homes were assessed with minimal damage are eligible for $2,500 in vouchers; those with medium damage are eligible for $5,000 in vouchers; those with major damage are eligible for $7,500 in vouchers; and those whose homes were destroyed are eligible for $10,000 in vouchers.
Voucher recipients will be able to use them for home improvement materials, labour or a combination of both.
There is online registration for the programme. In-person, sign-up locations have also been established.
The Grand Bahama in-person registration site is at the Small Home Repair Programme office at the Office of the Prime Minister. The Abaco site is at the administration complex in Marsh Harbour. The New Providence site is at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at Gladstone Road.
Due to the remoteness of Moore’s Island, Forbes-Smith agreed to bring in a team to directly assist residents with enrollment in the Small Home Repair Programme.
“This Category 5 storm has had a tremendous impact on the country. And really everything that we do in the Disaster Reconstruction Authority is to help people,” she said.
“And we will go to the end of the road to try to make sure that the benefits that are being offered you are able to get.”
To qualify for the Small Home Repair Programme a person needs to be Bahamian; to own the property in question; there must be proof of residence at August 31, 2019; the property would need to have been uninsured; and the property has to be in Grand Bahama or Abaco.
Under the programme, tradesmen used for repairs would need to be approved. Materials purchased with vouchers would have to be from approved vendors in The Bahamas.
The Authority will disburse 50 percent of the voucher first. An inspector will then check and ensure it was spent on the home. Once that is verified the remaining 50 percent would be disbursed.
The Authority has also partnered with various NGOs in Dorian-impacted communities. Through the partnerships the Government pays for home repair labour and the NGOs provide supplies and various types of logistical and technical assistance.
Forbes-Smith also toured sites of concern to residents. During the town hall meeting they raised the need for work on the local dock, the dump and school.
Hurricane Dorian was the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas.
The Authority has hosted town hall meetings in Abaco, the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama to update residents on restoration efforts and to hear their concerns.