Trailer tenants’ needs surveyed

Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor has commissioned an early report to assess the long-term needs of the islands’ trailer residents.

Mobile homes at Bodden Town

Mobile homes at Bodden Towns temporary trailer site, one of three locations for the emergency dwellings, still in use 18 months after installment. Photo: Elphina Magona

Mr. Connor, who has responsibility for the management of the temporary trailers, said the survey is needs driven.

‘We have found that there are some major Ivan-related issues, [among some trailer residents] which the cumulative effects of Ivan – such as displacement – have exacerbated,’ he said.

Grand Cayman’s trailer sites in West Bay, near HMP Fairbanks, and in Bodden Town house 84 two and three bedroom mobile homes.

The latest figures from the Temporary Housing Initiative show that while some 107 adults live in the trailers, only 35 adults are thought to have jobs. And to date 21 adults have resettled back into the traditional housing sector.

The report, to be based on interviews between the Temporary Housing Manage Catherine Tyson and trailer residents, will look into the most pressing trailer tenant issues.

Key among these are residents’ perceptions of their housing and employment needs, especially among those with no incomes, low-incomes and no homes.

‘We are in the process of gathering the information and anticipate that it will be ready for the Cabinet before the end of the month,’ Ms Tyson said.

While acknowledging the report is a response to the dependency culture that has sprung up among some of its tenants, Mr. Connor said that the administration is nevertheless keen to take a proactive stance in the matter.

He said that Government wants to help those who show willingness to meet it more than half way in finding achievable rehousing and employment solutions.

Government will use the findings of the report to assess resources it can offer those wanting to help themselves to enter/reintegrate fully into the mainstream housing and jobs markets.

Mr. Connor stressed the importance of self-help. Government, he said, had limited resources but would try to assist those who were willing to shape their own futures. ‘If they can help themselves they need to do so,’ he said.

An example of tenants Government would help is those who have land but lack the financial where withal to build.

It was further suggested the initiative would help in setting up drafting a realistic timescale for trailer decommissioning.

Mr. Connor declined to be drawn on the scope of rent arrears. He did however concede that some were behind with the CI$600 to $700 a month rent.

On a positive note, Mr. Connor said that the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund had already asked Government for the names of those trailer residents it could help.

Brought in as emergency housing by the last Government and sited in March 2005, Mr. Connor agrees that the initial deadline for the trailers’ post-Ivan use is already overdue.

‘The deadline is out of the window… realistically we are beyond that period,’ he said.

Mr. Orrett restated it was still intended that the mobile homes once fully decommissioned would be stored for future use in post disaster situations.

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