More than 200 residents are set to benefit from the Housing Recovery Assistance Programme, Social Development Minister Carvin Malone has said.
Malone, who was at the time addressing Thursday’s sitting of the House of Assembly said a total of 562 completed applications were received under the Housing Recovery Assistance Programme since its inception in 2018, and out of that amount, 447 met the eligibility criteria.
“To date, 209 beneficiaries have been approved to receive housing assistance in the form of grants, low-interest loans, or social housing from funding provided by the government, and an additional 25 homes were repaired through a short-term programme sponsored by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office,” Malone said.
More than 90 per cent of $ committed
In the meantime, the Social Development Minister said that as at February 14, a total of $9,595,175.99 has been committed in home repair grants; representing 91 percent of the funds apportioned for this purpose.
He also said another $3 million was allocated for social housing and will be able to build some 23 homes.
“Further to that, six persons have been recommended for low-interest loans to be administered by the National Bank of the Virgin Islands at a total value of $460,000,” he said.
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Malone said that since May last year, 81 beneficiaries have been approved to receive assistance under the revised programme through direct engagement of contractors for materials and labour.
He informed the House of Assembly that in addition to the aforesaid statistics, his ministry provides temporary housing, building materials grants, and rent assistance to help meet the housing needs of qualifying households.
“With respect to temporary housing, the Recovery & Development Agency (RDA) assisted the ministry to provide support to several households that were displaced by the hurricanes of 2017,” he said.
According to Malone, the RDA’s total budget for temporary housing was $450,000, which represents $276,000 as government’s contribution and private donations in the sum of $174,000.
“A total of 11 beneficiaries received assistance through this temporary home initiative. Four beneficiaries received new temporary structures, while the remaining seven beneficiaries received upgrades to existing temporary homes,” the minister stated.
He also said that to expand and expedite government’s response to homeowners who were able to meet their own labour costs but needed help with building materials, funding was allotted for grants.
“To this end, a total of 40 applicants benefited from this initiative to the tune of $210,818.58 between November and December 2019. So far this year, 69 applicants have been approved at a total sum of $434,730.11. This allows us to provide immediate relief to affected households that could use a helping hand to purchase small quantities of building materials from local suppliers,” Malone said.
The programme was initiated to assist struggling homeowners to repair their homes following the 2017 disasters.
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