Government assessing damaged homes in East Grand Bahama

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Davis Government is getting ready to repair homes on East End Grand Bahama

WE’RE WORKING – Chairman of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Alex Storr assured East Grand Bahama residents at a town meeting on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 that repair work on their homes will begin soon. From left are Ministry of Works and Utilities Assistant Engineer/Acting Officer In Charge, Grand Bahama Toni Bannister; Administrator for East Grand Bahama Gilbert Kemp; Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for Grand Bahama Melvin Seymour; and DRA Chairman Storr.   (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)

GRAND BAHAMA, The Bahamas – Assessments have already begun on a number of homes in East Grand Bahama and The Government assured residents during a community meeting on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, that crews will be on the ground to begin work before month end.

Chairman of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Alex Storr said The Government has been conducting assessments for weeks now and advised the residents from Freetown to McLean’s Town of the process, via the new Home Owners Assistance Repair Program, which will assist in returning them to their homes, after being gone since Hurricane Dorian ravaged East Grand Bahama three years ago.

“If you have been assessed under the former program, you will need to be reassessed. We have already ordered building material. This is no fluff and PR exercise. This is serious business, the work will begin shortly,” he told the residents.

Representatives from the Ministry for Grand Bahama, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, Ministry of Works and Utilities, the Department of Environmental Health and Local Government returned to East Grand Bahama to meet with the residents at Emmanuel Baptist Church in High Rock.

Storr said The Government plans to conduct an assessment on all of the homes and will provide building materials for those whose homes needing repair.

He further explained that, unlike under the previous program, which was capped at $10,000 per home, The Government is assisting with a total rebuild for those whose homes were completely destroyed.

The DRA Chairman further revealed that his office will be issuing contracts for all of the repairs and is presently accepting applications for workers and hiring supervised crews to carry out the work.

“Our hope, my hope, my wish is to have persons from East Grand Bahama help to complete the repairs in East Grand Bahama. I don’t want to have to go anywhere else on the island or in the country to find persons to come in East Grand Bahama to do these repairs,” he told the residents.

“So if you have qualified persons at home that are in need of employment and have in experience in construction whether it is construction, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, masonry, all of the facets, have them go to the portal and apply.”

He said they expect to begin signing contracts as soon as next week and to have work teams on roofs and fixing houses.

“Assessments are still ongoing. We are still on the ground. We do not plan to stop until we have repaired every house that we can,” he said.

For those whose houses were completely destroyed, Storr further explained that The Government will rebuild a home for those who qualify, but stressed that it will not be exactly like their previous home, instead it will be a two bedroom, one bath or one bedroom, one bath structure.

As for Sweeting’s Cay, where there is a major cesspit issue and homeowners are waiting to obtain their occupancy certificates in order to have their lights turned on, Storr said that matter is being rectified.

“We have already ordered the cesspit tanks. We hope to have them in hand shortly and they will be transported to the island and installed,” he said.

Storr is encouraging residents in need of assistance and those skilled in construction to apply to the DRA via the online portal or by phone at 352.9111.

UPDATE – Residents of East Grand Bahama were updated on the process for them to receive repairs to their homes and other projects underway in their area at a town meeting on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at Emmanuel Baptist Church, High Rock. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)