A Red Cross volunteer.
SIMPSON BAY–Red Cross St. Maarten plans to stop accepting new registrants for its Home Repair Programme (HRP) on May 26. After that, only people who have already registered can receive Red Cross help with materials for their roofs, windows, walls and doors in the final stage of the year-long repair programme, according to the organisation on Monday.
People who are still under tarpaulins or whose houses still suffer from some exterior damage can contact Red Cross to join the Home Repair Programme, which is busy helping improve homes for hundreds of people on the island. Red Cross has provided food and shelter aid to the island for the more than 19 months since Hurricane Irma devastated the island.
“Red Cross expects to be finished with the programme by the end of August,” stated HRP Programme Manager Birgit Vaes. The Home Repair Programme has been responsible for assessing hundreds of homes in nine areas of Dutch St. Maarten: Cay Bay, Cay Hill, Cole Bay, Dutch Quarter, Fort Willem, Middle Region, Over the Bank, St. Peters and Sucker Garden.
“Our monitoring visits will continue for people who have already registered, to help them complete their repairs, but we won’t be accepting new households into the Home Repair Programme,” Vaes said. “It is very important that people who need help with materials contact us by the deadline on May 26.”
Red Cross deploys teams to determine how much need a household has and, for everyone who qualifies, to advise on repairs and materials. Red Cross provides materials for free through a material list that beneficiaries can take to local suppliers, and a brief training course and a manual for performing proper repairs.
Everyone who qualifies for the repair programme receives advice from a Red Cross team of professional architects and engineers. Those beneficiaries are eligible for additional support, if needed, until July 20.
As home repair work winds down, Red Cross will be introducing new projects in cooperation with other St. Maarten organisations to further help with the recovery from Irma and the enhancement of the resilience of the island, through funding, for example, job opportunity projects and skills training, said Head of Mission Fanny de Swarte. The Red Cross plans to launch its new programmes before the end of August.
“Since the beginning of the Home Repair Programme, our goal has been to provide safe, resilient housing for the people of St. Maarten,” said De Swarte. “Now, we are working on other projects to complement the island’s redevelopment in collaboration with local organisations.”
Red Cross has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid to St. Maarten since Hurricane Irma in September 2017 – some of it in early relief efforts with tarpaulins, bottled water and such, and the rest in recovery and aid programmes. Red Cross donated thousands of breakfasts and lunches to schoolchildren across Dutch St. Maarten through its school feeding programme and provided money to households to buy groceries in its food voucher programme. Both of those programmes have ended.
People who have questions about Red Cross programmes can contact the organisation at 545-2333 or 545-2304.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/87482-home-repair-project-deadline-approaches