Significant contribution

Significant contribution

The 160th private home to be repaired under the St. Maarten Trust Fund’s Emergency Recovery Project 1 (ERP1) is indeed a significant milestone (see related story). The focus was on financially vulnerable homeowners like seniors earning no more than 4,000 Netherlands Antillean guilders per month and using the dwelling as their primary residence.
Despite these understandable limitations quite a few persons in need were assisted, with another 18 homes scheduled for the first quarter of next year. Especially just before the expected height of this Atlantic hurricane season it is good to know that in addition to fixing roofs, doors and windows, structural work to enhance safety was also performed where required,
Of course, residents including many tenants remain in living accommodations damaged almost five years ago by the hurricanes of September 2017, sometimes because landlords lacked insurance or are simply unwilling to fix their property. When combined with what others such as the Red Cross, White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) and St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) have done in this area, one can nevertheless certainly speak of a major effort.
Moreover, under the same ERP1 109 units of St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) were repaired, while work on 64 at the Belvedere Towers continues. In addition, the fixing of 160 earlier by SMHDF was financed retroactively.
People are often critical of how the Dutch-sponsored Trust Fund administered by the World Bank is being used – or not – but this project alone will ultimately have made possible repairs to in total 511 damaged homes. Also considering the acute shortage of decent affordable housing on the island, that is a significant contribution.

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