SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - According to the website of the National Recovery Plan Bureau there were two types of home repair in execution: one for private home owners and one for social homes, the Sint Maarten Consumers Coalition (SMCC) recently pointed out in a statement.
“A pilot project to repair 14 homes of private homeowners started on July 4th, 2019 and a minor home repair on 26 private homes started on September 1st, 2019.
“According to the website the status of these projects today is that the projects are still “Active”. A second phase of private home repairs announced targets 100-120 homes. The status of this project is “Active” but no start date of the project is mentioned on the NRPB website.
“On the other hand, the status of the social home repair project phase 1 is “completed”. This project targeted 109 homes of the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation. The status of a second phase home repair of 64 social homes is “under design”.
“In other words, we are now three years after Irma, until now a total of 313 – 333 homes the NRPB has targeted to repair: 140-160 homes of private home owners targeted of which most of them still “active” and “not completed”, and of 173 social homes targeted to be repaired, of which 109 are “completed” and 64 are still “under design”.
“In the World Bank Group report the total amount of structurally damaged housing units was estimated to be 70% to 80% of 19.500 housing units, which is 13.000 to 15.000 homes!
“We are now in 2020 and the Trust Fund moneys are available until 2025! In two years’ time only 333 homes have been targeted in home repair projects, when the other 12.667 to 14.667 structurally damaged homes will be build back better in our neighborhoods? The project bill boards are still up for quite some time, but not even the announcement or start of all these homes is presented!
“The director of NRPB was on a Public relations tour in all the talk shows on radio and tv, but at no time we could hear about the building back of homes for the 13.000 poor and needy households in St Maarten.
“The homes that we see being repaired are those from people with sufficient funds to repair their home. But poor and needy households lack those funds, they do not have the means to build back better and stronger.
333 homes in 2 years! On that pace in the coming 5 years only 833 homes can be build back better and stronger?
“The NRPB has to inform us on the plans to build back better the 13.000-15.000 homes structurally damaged housing units by hurricane Irma. We also appeal to the Prime Minister as well as the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment to make public, how the 13.000 to 15.000 structurally damaged homes in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan will be build back better and stronger!” the SMCC said in its statement.