SMDF finishes repairs on its first 23 houses

PHILIPSBURG–St Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) has completed repairs on the first 23 houses targeted by its elderly home repair project. Repairs started in December 2017. The second phase of repairs starts this month.

The repair project is tagged to SMDF’s Elderly Project, which aims to alleviate the living conditions of the country’s seniors.

The initial funds for the project came via the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations’ transfer of the remaining funds from Dutch funding agency AMFO to SMDF in November 2016. After Hurricane Irma additional funding was received from the Dutch Ministry making it possible for SMDF to execute works on 110 homes of the elderly.
SMDF Managing Director Keith Franca said the only challenge with the project so far is availability of qualified, well-experienced contractors.

“Construction is taking place all throughout the island and this creates a shortage of contractors, however, some of the contractors we have been working with have been progressing along,” said Franca.

The first step to be completed in the second phase is the tender procedures for the selected houses. “We have a shortlist of contractors and will invite additional interested companies and they will be invited to submit bids for the individual homes,” Franca added.
“All of the funds for this project have been provided by the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, who we are grateful to as it allows us to repair over 100 homes, but the needs extend far beyond what we can presently finance,” he said.
More houses can be added to the repair list if SMDF receives more funds from donors.
SMDF is aware of the conditions and circumstances that many are in and would do anything to support the country’s recovery, but their abilities are contingent upon the financing it received, said Franca.

All houses up for repair should be completed before the start of the hurricane season.
“Everyone is concerned about the upcoming hurricane season, including us, that is why we are constantly pushing to have the repair works completed as soon as possible,” Franca said.

There is coordination between the Red Cross, UNDP and Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI which have similar repair programmes. SMDF has referred close to 81 applicants to those two entities.

Source: The Daily Herald