The Government’s Housing Expansion Program has pledged to bring relief to 31 families in the Vieille Case constituency.
According to Parliamentary Representative for the Vieille Case constituency, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, the houses will impact 82 members of the various families, and will cost $3.15-million.
Letters of commitment for the construction of the new homes were presented to the families during a ceremony in Vieille Case, on Wednesday.
Skerrit stated that several applications for new homes were distributed to village councils throughout the constituency, and of the 85 which were submitted, 79 were approved for new homes, while 6 will be reroofed.
“So far, we’ve received 85 application forms that were returned. Out of the 85, 79 have been approved for new homes, and 6 for reroofing and extensive improvements, because the homes are structurally sound, and with improvements, can be made more comfortable than they currently are,” he said.
The Prime Minister revealed that the contracts for the construction of the homes have already been signed, and the workers have already received a mobilization fee, to begin work as soon as possible. He noted that the letters given to the families are a sign of “the government’s firm commitment” to building them new homes.
Skerrit explained that the homes will be functional and will reflect the government’s vision of resilience.
“And these homes will be constructed with concrete walls, with concrete roofs because we are seeking to build more resilient homes… electrical wiring, plumbing,” he stated. “Your house will be fully tiled, you will have basic kitchen cabinets, and the houses will be painted.”
He also noted that the Housing Expansion Program will soon move to other communities in the constituency to build homes for the remaining applicants.
“With regards to the 48 additional applications— I said to you 79 have been approved, but we’re starting 31,” Skerrit elaborated. “We will have a ceremony… in Penville in the first week of February where we shall give our letters to the additional 48 families who applied… The houses will be built in 2019, God’s willing.”
The Prime Minister stated that one of the challenges the program faces is that some of the beneficiaries do not own land. He urged those with land to spare, to sell it to the government for the building of homes.
“…the challenges some of the beneficiaries have is the issue of not having their land. So, that’s a land. And I’m saying to those of us who have extra land in the village, those of us who live overseas and the lots are abandoned, sell it to the government, because we need to build homes for these people on safe lands,” he said. “And if you’re in America, you’re not coming back to Dominica, either you sell it to us, or we will compulsorily apply for the deed.”
Meantime, Housing Officer, Greg Francois, revealed that a massive reroofing program which was undertaken in the Vieille Case constituency is nearly complete.
At the ceremony in Vieille Case, on Wednesday, he said that a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Building Damages Assessment was conducted after the devastating Hurricane Maria. Through the assessment, it was discovered that a significant percentage of dwelling homes in Penville, Thibaud and Vieille Case had been destroyed.
He stated that after estimates were prepared for the damaged structures in the community, the government provided the necessary funds.
“A sum of approximately $1.6-million for a hundred beneficiaries in Veille Case, $3-million approximately for 127 families in Penville, and approximately $500,000 for 55 beneficiaries in Thibaud was made available for the respective village councils,” Francois explained. “The program went through an eight-month period. To date, we can report that 98% of roofs in Thibaud and Vieille Case are completed, and 92% in Penville. We only have minor technical issues to deal with to have the program 100% completed.”