Garth Clarke of Northward didn’t know what to expect when he returned home after weathering hurricane Ivan at his family’s house.
‘It was terrifying to walk up the street and see my home and my car so damaged,’ he said, but with the help of the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund, Mr. Clarke’s home has now been repaired and is once again a refuge for his girlfriend and son.
‘A friend told me about the fund and once I applied the whole process worked quickly. The contractors repaired the roof and replaced two windows in about a week and a half and everything went smoothly,’ said Mr. Clarke.
Since October over 1,200 applications like Mr. Clarke’s have been received by the CINRF and over 69 contracts have been awarded. Mrs. Angela Martins, executive director of the CINRF, stated that the purpose of the fund is to complete the work necessary to ensure a house is dry – including repairing the roof, windows and doors. Up to $15,000 can be allotted to each home with 75% of the fund intended for drying-in and the remainder available to make interior repairs to ceiling drywall or tiles.
Mrs. Martins and her team at CINRF are actively pursuing donations from private and corporate citizens since she estimates it would take nearly 20 million dollars to help just 400 of the more than 1200 applications the fund has received thus far. ‘The CINRF realizes the need for our support is great and we will continue to work diligently to raise the funds to repair as many homes as possible,’ said Mrs. Martins.
Mr. Chris Richmond, Housing Services Coordinator, explained the process that applications go through: ‘Every application is reviewed to ensure all necessary information is included such as the block and parcel number and proper street address. Many applications are missing this information and we cannot progress until it is provided.
‘Once the application is complete our site inspector visits the property and makes an inspection to determine if $15,000 is sufficient to make the home watertight.
‘If the property is not structurally sound we cannot progress with work because we’d risk the safety of contractors. If damages are beyond $15,000 we set that application aside until we have the funds to help those people.
‘After inspection we send out a project manager to make a detailed quote which we present to the trustees for approval. Then the funds are transferred to the contractors who begin work on the home.’
Five independent contractors are currently working with CINRF: Arch and Godfrey, Chalmers Gibb Martins Joseph (CGMG), Evans and Oracle, Hadsphaltic and OBM. Each contractor has a project manager who supervises the work on the homes, ensuring work of a high quality is achieved. ‘Quality control gives everyone the ability to sleep soundly – the trustees, owners and the contractors,’ said Mr. Richmond. ‘People who donate to this fund want the work to be done safely and effectively,’ he continued.
Mr. Richmond assures home owners who receive funding that they will have quality work completed with minimal problems due to the reputation of the contractors being used.
‘Some homeowners want to supervise work but this isn’t necessary since our project managers will supervise the job,’ he said.
Mrs. Martins said that initially, one of the main challenges to completing contracts was the lack of building materials on the island. ‘To tackle that problem the CINRF trust has now approved bulk purchasing through local building suppliers,’ said Mrs. Martins.