(CMR) The R3 Cayman Foundation has launched a new program to ensure Caymanian families are safe, dry, and protected against future storms by repairing damaged homes.
The new program is funded through a CI$500,000 grant from the R3 Cayman Foundation and aims to build community readiness and safeguard lives and property from the impacts of severe weather events.
The project builds on the foundation set by a previous partnership between R3 Cayman Foundation, Resilience Cayman, and the Cayman Islands Government Ministry of Investment, Innovation, and Social Development to repair Caymanian-owned homes previously damaged by storms or otherwise unable to withstand future natural disasters.
R3 Chairman Dale Crowley said the impacts of unsafe housing on human health, safety and well-being cannot be underestimated.
“There are people in our community whose lives are upended every time we experience a hard rain, much less a storm. This program continues R3’s previous efforts to ensure the vulnerable members of our community – especially the elderly, disabled and families with young children – can shelter safely in their homes,” he said.
“Damp, unsafe homes are a threat to human health and safety in so many ways, whether from physical health concerns like mold or the emotional toll of not having a fit-for-purpose home. Access to safe, dry housing is fundamental to ensuring people can live their best lives,” Crowley added.
The foundation will once again partner with Resilience Cayman to deliver home repairs through one-time grants for qualified households. All homes targeted for repairs under the program have been previously identified by the Cayman Islands Government and vetted by the Resilience Cayman team.
Qualifying homes are then screened using a rating system to prioritize homeowners who are elderly, disabled, or otherwise vulnerable and those with young children in the household. The program includes due diligence to ensure the residents are homeowners who will continue to reside at the premises once the repairs are complete.
Resilience Cayman Chairperson Jan Gupta said: “Resilience Cayman has partnered with R3 Foundation since February 2022. Since then, we are proud to have made a significant impact in addressing the huge volume of applications for housing repairs from the community. There is always more to be done, and limited resources need to be used as efficiently as possible to ensure we can reach as many homes as possible.”
“With 18 months of experience in repairing homes for this program, we now have a strong process for assessing families in need, hiring contractors, purchasing materials, and completing the homes on time and within budget. We are grateful to have strong relationships with local contractors and vendors, and we appeal for more companies to step forward and assist with this worthy program,” Gupta added.
Relief Committee Chair Woody Foster explained the grant amount is expected to enable the foundation to repair 15 to 20 homes but could have an even greater impact with the support from the wider community and in-kind donations of materials and labor from local construction companies and contractors.
“Between the rising cost of materials and labor, these funds get used up in the blink of an eye. We wish we could do more, but we have to focus on making the homes safe and dry – that is our key priority. Putting on a whole new roof or installing new windows and doors can be an expensive venture,” he said.
“We welcome any offer of support from local contractors, plumbers, electricians and building supply companies to donate your time, materials or expertise to help people in need,” he added.
Residents who have benefitted from the home repair program have expressed gratitude.
“My aunt is 105 and the windows in her room were old and leaking and also not allowing the room to keep cool. Roof leaks were also causing mold and affecting our health. The repairs have fixed all of these issues. The team has been very caring, thoughtful, responsive and efficient in getting the repairs done. Resilience has communicated very well to ensure I knew what to expect. I more than appreciate what you have done for my aunt and I. Words are not enough,” a resident from East End said.
“We appreciate this program helping my mother with urgent storm repairs. Although the roof repair still needs some work, the team has stepped up to make sure it is completed properly in time for this year's storm season,” a Bodden Town resident stated.