Several starter homes were handed over this morning by the Government of Belize through the National Emergency Management Organization. With five houses located in the Collet division, the Area Representative, Patrick Faber was with NEMO Minister, Edmond Castro for the official presentations on Laura Dunn and Iguana Streets. As explained by Minister Faber, the homes came as a result of relief efforts following Hurricane Earl that made landfall on Belize on August 4, 2016.
“As people will know the Collet constituency is one of the toughest one, a lot of poverty is in this area and in fact the living conditions of many of the people who live in this extension area of our division have a tough life and so I am very pleased that we are able to hand over these very small houses, some people would criticise but it is a start and it is a much more comfortable position for many of the residents in our constituency and we are grateful to NEMO and the environment of Belize for their contributions to make sure that those who were living in the shelters after Hurricane Earl and so that is how they were chosen to get these homes. The construction was quick, we hired many contractors to work at the same time and I’m sure that people will appreciate that this is rather quick. Now it’s not a fancy home but in many respects it was much better that what was there before and we will pledge as I go to speak to the recipients of these homes we have made a pledge to ensure that they finishing touches are done that the NEMO organization did not give because they are trying to stretch the money as far as possible. We are fortunate in Collet that we are a part of the Southside Poverty Alleviation program and you may have recalled that the Prime Minister said, I think he announced it in his Independence Day address that in fact permission was being sought from the funders of the project to redirect some monies that were intended for other purposes to give it for housing relief, and for the residents of the south side. All in all I think Collet’s share is close to a million dollars so that will be in addition to what NEMO is doing here and we intend to make that money spread as much as we can.”
As we mentioned, the structures are starter homes built at a cost of about twenty two thousand dollars each. The two bedroom homes are without partitions or utilities as explained by Minister Castro.
“Basically we cannot build the houses to full completion in terms of installation of electricity, BEL is doing that. These people who received their homes they just need to go and apply at BEL and BEL has a program in place that they will put up to help them. From our point of view here we have more houses than previously that we had assessed in the initial phases so we are looking at over 200 close to 300 houses that we are trying to rebuild. With that said it is impossible for us to do 100% of everything for those houses so we are doing our best to give them a basic structure and those people will then be in a position to help themselves so that they get to 100%. We are giving them I would say 95% completion. We know for sure that they are in a better structure, we know for sure that they will not be able to get wet and thus in the event of another storm these houses are built to withstand some of the hurricane we had earlier.”
The contractors of the homes accompanied the ministers during the handing over as well as senior officers at NEMO and officials of ITVET who were also instrumental in providing some of the human resources during construction.