By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
DISASTER Reconstruction Authority Chairman Alex Storr said yesterday it is possible that the DRA may have to help additional homeowners repair homes as Hurricane Nicole may have exacerbated the challenges for some in Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Mr Storr said assessments were continuing on those islands as there were still some people who had not had their homes repaired since Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
He spoke to the issue yesterday after a newly tabled DRA report said the authority would need $6,444,828 to facilitate the repair of 3,735 homes.
The report only detailed information as of June 30, 2021. It was tabled in the House of Assembly on Wednesday and covers a 19-month period from December 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021.
“As we go through the assessments we will get a better figure,” Mr Storr said yesterday when asked if there were still more than 3,700 homes to be repaired.
“That will take a while because we have quite a number of assessments. So far the government has allocated us $2 million.
“We began assessments in Grand Bahama in earnest and we hope to begin very shortly in Abaco and as we do the assessments we’re also working so we probably won’t have the figure until after the programme when we know what it is because right now we can’t even give you an accurate figure as people are still coming in to apply for assistance, especially after Nicole that has exasperated the situation because persons may have been in unlivable conditions after Dorian, but Nicole may have caused some increase in leaks and everything else and so more people are coming in.”
He said he was uncertain as some people in past months repaired their own homes while others remained in need of help.
According to the audit as of June 30, 2021, the Small Homes Repair Programme approved 3,735 homeowners for assistance in the disaster zone.
“The government of The Bahamas committed to complete 2,692 or 72 percent of those approved homeowners in what was categorised as stage one,” independent auditor LDL and Associates said.
“In the budget estimates and allocations for the year July 2021 through June 2022, a commitment of $2m was designated to complete stage one and assist homeowners in what has been labelled as stage two.”
The report said: “The DRA on behalf of the government of The Bahamas, is committed to spend an additional $6,444,828 to complete the SHRP funding for the 3,735 homeowners who were approved through June 30, 2021.
“This will require additional funding from the government of The Bahamas and a specific timeline for funding this commitment has not yet been established.”