Children whose families have been in temporary homes since the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan can stroll down the streets of New York City and see a production of The Lion King on Broadway later this summer.
The lucky young people will travel to the Big Apple in mid-August if the Temporary Housing Unit can raise enough funds, says Temporary Housing Manager Catherine Tyson. In addition to visiting the theatre district, plans are being made for visits to the Bronx Zoo, various art museums among other activities.
Ms Tyson explains: ‘When the children are not in school we’ve always worked to make sure that they have access to activities that are both educational and exciting. That has become increasingly difficult because of lack of funding.
‘As the Temporary Housing Programme starts to wind down, I wanted to do something that would have a strongly positive impact. A visit to New York with its rich cultural life seemed like the perfect idea.’
The children live with their families in temporary housing on government – and in some cases private-owned – land. Government began the scheme to accommodate those persons whose homes were destroyed by the hurricane in 2004 and could not afford to rebuild. Of 82 temporary homes, 44 are still occupied and located over three government owned sites, as well as seven on private property.
With the receipt by the National Hurricane Recovery Fund of a grant from the European Union, the Temporary Housing Unit is moving to rebuild homes for all families. To facilitate this process Ms Tyson and her staff is working with residents of homes to help them maintain stable lives. Among other initiatives they offer assistance that includes resume-writing, and job-hunting, so that the clients are in a better financial position to purchase land and build new homes for their families.
Anyone interested in contributing to the New York trip should contact Ms Tyson at 947-2861.