BVI News

‘I so thankful’ | 83yo first to receive new home under Housing Assistance Programme

Social Development Minister Marlon Penn hands over the keys of the first home built under the Housing Recovery Assitance Programme to local senior citizen, Decima Smith on Thursday, January 3. Looking on is Smith’s son who led the project of rebuilding his mum’s new home.

Eighty-three-year-old Decima Smith could only express gratitude as she received the keys to her new home — the first to be built under government’s Housing Recovery Assistance Programme.

The modest structure is perched in front of what remains of Smith’s old Lower Estate family home that was reduced to ruins after the onslaught of Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

“All who help me, I so thankful for it because I had a home, a big one, and it get destroyed,” Smith said at the handover ceremony of the one bedroom, one bathroom house on Thursday.

Social Development Minister Marlon Penn said the home was a sign of the ‘rejuvenation’ that was taking place in the territory.

“This symbolic passing over of the key is one of many that will happen in the next couple of months and weeks to come,” said Penn, who commended former Health Minister, Ronnie Skelton, for kicking off the housing programme.

“[He] was very much the catalyst behind us to get this process moving … I’m the heritance of some of his hard work,” Penn said.

Miss Decima sits outside her new home in Lower Estate after being handed the keys on January 3. (Photo by Davion Smith/BVI News)

Other homes approved

Approximately 90 homes have already been approved for construction under the housing programme.

Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr D Orlando Smith, released some $15 million for the housing assistance initiative which has various layers such as the loan programme and grant programme for affected and vulnerable homeowners who were either underinsured or had no insurance on their hurricane-affected properties before the September 2017 disasters.

“I know that many people have benefited in various ways, not just complete homes but also putting roofs on, or [replacing] various other parts of their homes. I’m sure that the programme will continue because there is still, as I understand from the good Minister [of Health], lots and lots of people who are still in need,” said Premier Smith while giving remarks at the ceremony.

Other officials who were present at the ceremony were former Health Minister Skelton, and the Representative of the Fourth District where Lower Estate is located, Mark Vanterpool.

Legislators surround Decima Smith, the first recipient of a home under government’s Housing Assistance Programme.

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  1. interested says:

    i want a house to

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  2. Love for My Country says:

    Kudos to Honourable Ronnie Skelton for looking out for our seniors and others.

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  3. taxpayer says:

    Well sah! a women with several grown/adult children and none to help

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    • ??? says:

      Mind your business!! How would you know the financial position of her grown children?

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    • Meli says:

      And what makes you think they didn’t help??? Don’t start any rumors or nonsense because they not true.

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    • @Well Sah says:

      If the children live with her then Government should not have taken on the full responsibility.

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    • @Tax Payer says:

      Let me holla at you for a quick sec, it is not your place to say something like that.Only a ignorant person would say something like that. As a tax payer, I don’t have a problem if a portion of my taxes is spend to help someone get a home to live in. I don’t care what your race,color or where a person is from, at the end of the day,we all bleed the same color, RED. It is not your place to say what you said.

      Like 14
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    • Stop Judging says:

      Do you know that at least one of her children also lost their entire home and was using a shelter? I’m sure many of your family members are also in need and wish you would help.

  4. lol says:

    look votes

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  5. Ausar says:

    This is such great news for our people!

  6. Eagle eye says:

    Y’all want to be ministers of both leading and opposition in government.hurry come election

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    • Falcon says:

      Hush your rass! Hon Skelton initiated the Housing programme which is to benefit those in need, so no matter where he is or sits, he should be present as he led the charge. You all full of nonsense in this place. Good job Skelton and I hope other citizens who are to benefit from this housing program hurry and get their homes too. People in this place suffering and we should all be happy one less citizen now gets some relief!

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      • Accra says:

        It was the late Hon. Paul Wattley initiative… how quickly we forget. Hon. Skelton kept the promise he made to Wattley to continue with the housing programme he started before he died

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      • @Falcon says:

        I agree. I’m not a fan of what Skelton did with starting a new party but that’s his right. I’m glad to see that Marlon and NDP were big enough and had the decency to involve the former Minister given that the initiative started with him.

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        • Initiative says:

          The initiative did not start with him, (Skelton) it started with the NDP Government. That sort of issue falls under Social Development’s portfolio, so the housing programme money for recovery to help persons rebuild were rightfully placed under the Ministry, and he was the minister responsible for the programme. I guess the NDP Govt isn’t all bad and no good.

      • Reader says:


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  7. Jehovah says:

    Mi mothers theme put she to stand up to to get a photo opt. Sad sad sad. Funny season or cruel season.

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    • @Jehovah says:

      Seems like your elevator just can’t make it to the top floor no matter how many times you press the up button.

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  8. Interested says:

    We should always give credit where it is due.This was Ronnie’s project.He also gave a monthly stipend to many seniors including my mother for many years.

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  9. Law Abiding Citizen says:

    You guys are so selective. I’m still waiting on my assistance.

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  10. Bizzy Bee says:

    I’m not sure I understand. Mrs. Smith’s new digs cost around $71K according to another news source…
    Didn’t the previous government spend more than a Quarter Million Dollars on the restrooms at the Palm Grove?
    How did we get off so cheap this time?!?

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    • IJS says:

      Hers perhaps was an existing building/structure that was re-modeled/furbished, with minimal work to be carried out hence not too costly…

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      • @IJS says:

        Not so. This structure was built from the ground up. The $250k rest room built with assistance from Lions members was typical ridiculous / careless spending of the mentioned government of the day. And we remember who the service organization president was at that time.

      • @IJS #2 says:

        a couple of years ago, a home was built for almost $90k, and it was a slightly larger structure. although it didn’t came with a cistern, it is possible to keep it within this budget. and mind you, this house I am talking about was built on a hill.

  11. Tola says:

    I need a house as well irma gone with mine

  12. Election Season says:

    Election Season and the politicians out in droves for photo ops. SMH

  13. Tola says:

    Approved signed papers but still waiting…income less then 3000.00 a month eldery mentally ill patient lives in a roofless home still mopping water when it rains only daughter..patiently waiting at home…still asking no one is answering.

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