Bahamas Government launches new project to assist homeowners affected by Hurricane Dorian

The Bahamas government has launched the Hurricane Dorian Small Home Repair Programme aimed at helping residents to make the necessary repairs to their storm-damaged homes.

The project will be launched in Abaco on Monday next week, one week after it was officially launched on Grand Bahama.

Grand Bahama and Abaco were among the islands hardest hit by the Category 5 storm that tore through the archipelago on September 1 last year, killing at least 70 people, with more than 200 others missing and damage estimated at US$3.4 billion.

“As a government, we understand that many Bahamians in the disaster zones have had great financial pressures placed on them,” Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said at the launch, adding 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.

These are residents whose homes were assessed with minimal damage will be eligible for US$2,500 in purchase orders; medium damage will be eligible for US$5,000 in purchase orders; major damage will be eligible for US$7,500 in purchase orders, and those whose homes were destroyed will be eligible for US$10,000 in purchase orders.

The government said purchase order recipients will be able to use them for home improvement materials, labour or a combination of both.

“We encourage you to register online. This would prevent you from having to wait on a line,” Minnis said, adding “we have also put in place the in-person registration process for those unable to register online for whatever reason.”

To qualify, a person must be Bahamian, own the property in need of repair and there must be proof of residence on August 31, 2019. In addition, the property would need to have been uninsured and the property has to be in Grand Bahama, Abaco, or the Abaco Cays.

“This Small Home Repair Programme is directed at helping Bahamian people get their homes back to normalcy.”

— Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis

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. 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,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

Homes ravaged in The Bahamas following the passage of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.

The recently formed Disaster Reconstruction Authority will disburse 50 per cent of the purchase orders first to qualifying applicants and Prime Minister Minnis said, “an inspector will then check and ensure the purchase order was spent on the home. Once that is confirmed the remaining 50 per cent will be disbursed.”

“We want to keep the money spent on this Programme in the country. That will help Bahamian businesses.”

— Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis

The Authority has also partnered with various non-government organisations (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. This Small Home Repair Programme is directed at helping Bahamian people get their homes back to normalcy,” Minnis said.