Temporary trailers not so temporary

Mobile home trailers imported to Grand Cayman from the United States after Hurricane Ivan to be used as temporary emergency housing will be here indefinitely Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said recently in Finance Committee.

‘The trailers will be used as long as is necessary,’ he said.

The 84 fully furnished two and three bedroom trailers, with the capacity to house six persons, are being rented for $500 to $600 per month.

The homes arrived with an ‘exit plan’ that they were to leave the Cayman Islands within 24 months, either to be shipped to another jurisdiction or resold to the manufacturers for refurbishment.

The trailers are at four government-owned sites: in West Bay near the Ed Bush playing field, in George Town near Fairbanks Prison, and in Bodden Town behind the Civic Centre and also near the Mission House site on Gun Square Road.

Some trailers are also located on privately-owned land.

The trailers and government sites are administered by the Cayman Islands Recovery Operations Temporary Housing Office.

When asked about the current status of the exit policy for the trailers, Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connell told the Finance Committee there will be difficulty in removing them as they are being used as affordable housing units for needy families and are 90 to 95 per cent occupied.

‘This doesn’t mean that the same people have been living in them since they became available,’ said Mr. Connor. ‘The turnover rate is high as needy families continue to replace ones who have successfully found permanent homes.’

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said that that use of trailers will not be discontinued while there is a need.

‘At this time, there is certainly a connection between temporary and affordable housing initiatives on the Island,’ he told the finance committee.

Mr. Connor stressed that community development officers are ensuring that needy children currently living in the trailer homes participate in community development activities such as after school and meals programs.

Mr Connor also said that the current management team is attempting to be proactive in dealing with the residents to get a clearer picture of how to help the current residents become more employable and self-reliant.

The trailers would be vulnerable in a hurricane. Although they are equipped with hurricane straps for the roofs, they are only built to withstand winds up to 75 miles an hour, only one mile an hour above the threshold of a Category 1 hurricane.

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