Forty Two Dominicans are now new homeowners under the Housing Recovery Project

A collaboration between the Housing Recovery Project and the World Bank has made 42 Dominicans brand new homeowners. A ceremony to officially hand over the keys to the lucky persons took place at the State House Conference Center on March 18. Out of the 42 individuals granted houses 14 of the recipients came from the Kalinago Territory. 

The handing over of the keys was done by the President of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Her Excellency Sylvanie Burton, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development Melissa Poponne-Skerrit, and Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist and World Bank Representative Suranga Kahandawa. In their remarks both Skerrit and Kahandawa made it a point to note that their hope is families are no longer burdened with relocation worries after natural disasters. Their aim, along with the Housing Recovery Project, is to build resilient homes designed to withstand major hurricanes and earthquakes in safe and secure locations. 

Of the three testimonies given by the beneficiaries of the new houses one recalls the disheartening process of trying to relocate and rebuild after Hurricane Maria. Lucy Pascal, a resident from Marigot who accepted keys on behalf of the beneficiary, her mother, recalled the devastation of the loss of their 50 year family home in 2017. The home which was single handedly built by her father was the only thing her mother had left of him after his passing. The two lived in the house since they were 20 and raised all 17 of their children there. 

Pascal states that both she and her mother slowly lost hope for rebuilding when all donors and firms applied to were met with silence until approaching the Housing Recovery Project. She spoke of her joy when she got the call to attend the HRP seminar and the dent she felt in her dignity from being homeless slowly mending. Now her mother who is blind is proudly the owner of a house she can once again call her own and hope has been restored. Another beneficiary, Nigel Casimir of Louisville, in a much shorter but still heartfelt speech felt the same hopelessness until a friend of his suggested that he try the HRP. He feels as if receiving the house was the first step out of poverty and is now proud to know there is something he can leave his young daughter. 

Since its inception the Housing Recovery Project has assisted in the housing of over 200 Dominicans. Between January 2023 and now 207 homes have been given and about 90 other homes are still under construction. With the handing over of these houses the Minister for Housing and Urban Development in her speech reminded recipients that as they embark on this journey of responsibility and independence they must keep their homes clean and take pride in maintaining their outer space. “Remember your home is an investment in your future and the future of your family. Take care of it and by being good stewards of your surroundings you contribute to the overall well being of everyone, and create a legacy that will endure for generations”. With a very fitting closing Poponne Skerrit recited “Congratulations on your new beautiful home. May the walls know joy, may every room know laughter, and every window open to great possibilities”.  

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