Eighteen months past the nightmare of Hurricane Maria, Dominica has shown the world how to build better homes through the various government projects including the reputable “Housing Revolution” program.
Not a corner of Dominica was spared by the rage of Maria back in September of 2017. The entire nation was affected – roads, buildings, homes, health facilities, forests, and trails were severely damaged. Most Dominicans did not have homes or had compromised dwelling. After Hurricane Maria, rental prices, real estate and the cost of construction skyrocketed.
Just weeks after the disastrous event, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit introduced Housing Dominica – the government’s housing initiative intended to provide thousands of Dominicans with free climate-resilient homes. “I have a home to give me the security my family needs and I want every Dominican to have a safe home to come home to, free from fear from another hurricane,” Skerrit recently advised.
At present, constructions throughout the island are in full swing. The government intends to build 5,000 homes under contract by Montreal Management Consultants Est. (MMCE). A series of housing developments in the East Coast, West Coast, and Roseau City are the most extensive projects ever funded by the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CBIU) of Dominica through the economic citizenship program.
Chris Timmins, Project Director of MMCE, vaunts the quality homes being constructed: “All new buildings are made from reinforced concrete technology, equipped with impact-resistant glass for windows, and solar water heaters installed on each residence.” Timmins added that the flagship project in Bellevue Chopin has the first large-scale installation of fiber optic services to an entire community on the island and all utilities are also underground for easier reconnection in the event of a service loss.
In a few weeks, the Prime Minister is set to unveil a new comprehensive housing program aimed at providing adequate housing for everyone in Dominica. “I will be unveiling, very soon, to the young professionals who are back in Dominica and who need a home, a comprehensive housing program on the lands situated at Warner, owned by the Dominica Social Security, where we will build a massive housing complex to provide adequate housing for the young professionals in Dominica,” Skerrit said.
During the Emergency Shelter Management Manual orientation, Disaster Coordinator Fitzroy Pascal recognized the government´s drive to improve construction standards for homes and shelters: “The government of Dominica places a high priority on Disaster Management, particularly given recent experiences with major disasters and the heightened awareness of climate change and risk management. The ongoing construction of regional emergency shelters in designated locations on the island is part of the Government’s thrust to enhance the shelter experience. It is complemented with the ongoing construction of several residential homes in multiple districts that are designed to be more resistant to various hazards, with the intention to reduce the need for persons having to utilize emergency shelters.”
Building Better Homes emphasize that recovery and reconstruction are important to address physical, environmental, and socio-economic vulnerabilities in order to provide the opportunity to rebuild beyond pre-disaster conditions for safer, more sustainable and resilient communities in Dominica and the Caribbean.