Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis officially launched the Hurricane Dorian Small Home Repair Program at the Harold DeGregory Building in Freeport, Grand Bahama on February 10th. The program provides funds through vouchers for Grand Bahama and Abaco Homeowners who sustained minor and major damage to their homes from Hurricane Dorian. The program will launch on Abaco on February 17th and in New Providence on February 24th. Prime MInister Minnis indicated at the official opening ceremony that as a Government, we understand that many Bahamians in the disaster zones have had great financial pressures placed on them. The Prime Minister acknowledged that it has been difficult for many homeowners to find the funds necessary to make repairs to their homes. The Prime Minister said that under the programme, there will be four categories for which purchase orders for home repairs will be granted.
• Residents whose homes were assessed with minimal damage will be eligible for $2,500 in purchase orders;
• medium damage will be eligible for $5,000 in purchase orders;
• major damage will be eligible for $7,500 in purchase orders;
• those whose homes were destroyed will be eligible for $10,000 in purchase orders.
Purchase order recipients will be able to use the vouchers for home improvement materials, labour or a combination of both. Homeowners can register online for the program at http://www.drabahamas.org. There will also be in-person, signup locations for those unable to register online at the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama, the Government Complex in Abaco and at the National Emergency Management Agency Headquarters on Gladstone Road in New Providence. The Prime Minister indicated that to qualify, a person needs to be Bahamian; to own the property in need of repair; 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, Abaco, or the Abaco Cays. Under the programme, tradesmen used for repairs will need to be approved. Materials purchased with purchase orders will have to be from approved vendors in The Bahamas.
“This is important,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “We want to keep the money spent on this Programme in the country. That will help Bahamian businesses. We also want to make sure the money spent is used for home repair.” The Disaster Reconstruction Authority will disburse 50 percent of the purchase orders first to qualifying applicants, the Prime Minister explained. “An inspector will then check and ensure the purchase order was spent on the home. Once that is confirmed the remaining 50 percent will be disbursed,” said the Prime Minister. The Authority has also partnered with various NGOs in communities affected by Dorian.
Through the partnerships the Government pays for home repair labour, and the NGOs provide supplies and various types of logistical and technical assistance. Those initiatives will continue in conjunction with this new Small Home Repair Programme. “My Government pledges its full support along each step of the way to restoration,” said Prime Minister Minnis. He noted that “This Small Home Repair Programme is directed at helping Bahamian people get their homes back to normalcy.”
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