Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis officially launched the Hurricane Dorian Small Home Repair Programme aimed at helping residents to make the necessary repairs to their storm-damaged homes. The programme will be launched in Abaco on February 17th, and in New Providence on February 24th.
“As a Government, we understand that many Bahamians in the disaster zones have had great financial pressures placed on them,” the Prime Minister said at the launch ceremony held at the Harold DeGregory Building on Monday 10 February.
“It has been difficult for many to find the funds necessary to make repairs to their homes. In an effort to assist, my Government is launching the Small Home Repair Programme.”
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 them for home improvement materials, labour or a combination of both. Homeowners can register online for the programme at www.drabahamas.org.
“We encourage you to register online. This would prevent you from having to wait on a line… We have also put in place the in-person registration process for those unable to register online for whatever reason”, said the Prime Minister. More than 200 Bahamians made online submissions to the Small Home Repair Program on its launch day in Grand Bahama on Monday.
The in-person, signup locations for those unable to register online will be in Grand Bahama, at the Office of the Prime Minister; in Abaco, at the Government complex; and in New Providence, at NEMA, Gladstone Road.
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 Disaster Reconstruction 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.
Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction the Hon. Iram Lewis noted the need for The Bahamas to focus on resiliency due to climate change. He said there will be a review of our building code.
“I have no doubt that by hardening of our already strong code and renewed emphasis on inspections and rules enforcement, we would reduce risk during storms across our archipelago,” said Mr. Lewis.
Hurricane Dorian was the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas. It was also the country’s worst natural disaster. It is estimated that Hurricane Dorian caused $3.4 billion in losses and damage.
“My Government pledges its full support along each step of the way to restoration,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
“This Small Home Repair Programme is directed at helping Bahamian people get their homes back to normalcy.”
The Prime Minister will address the nation on Tuesday 11 February on the Hurricane Dorian Restoration effort. The report will air on ZNS TV and Radio, other local stations and @opmbs Facebook at 8pm.
February 10th, 2020
Office of the Prime Minister