New call for housing support amid storm impact

R3 Foundation seeking to hit $250k fundraising target

Tropical Storm Grace damaged homes across the islands. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay.

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The passing of Tropical Storm Grace has heightened the urgency for repairs to be carried out on some of Cayman’s most vulnerable properties.

Over the past month, the Cayman Compass housing series has highlighted the number of people living in unfit or unsafe conditions, including some homes still damaged from Hurricane Ivan.

The impact of last week’s tropical storm has left more people in danger.

Tara Nielsen of charity Acts of Random Kindness with R3 chairman Bryan Hunter. – Photos: Alvaro Serey

And the threat of future hurricanes means charity workers are anxious to ensure as many homes as possible are safe and secure.

The R3 Foundation is midway through a fundraising campaign to help support non-profit organisation Acts of Random Kindness which helps improve the standard of housing for low-income families through its Cayman CASA programme.

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Bryan Hunter, chairman of the R3 Foundation, said around $150,000 had been raised since the beginning of the year.

R3, through its partnership with the Kenneth B Dart foundation, is matching donations up to a limit of $250,000.

That means $300,000 has gone to the housing programme so far.

Hunter said R3 hopes to raise an additional $100,000. Alongside the matched funding, that would mean a $500,000 war chest to help deal with unfit housing.

“A very good amount has already been raised but we don’t want to waste the opportunity to bring in another $100,000 for this programme,” he said.

Hunter added that last week’s storm had provided an important reminder of the level of need in the community.

“It certainly drives home the importance of helping people living in desperate situations because of previous disasters or personal emergencies.

“Getting their homes into a livable state without the help of organisations like ARK would be very difficult.

“When you have a storm like Grace come through it really highlights how important it is for these homes to be upgraded.”

The R3 Foundation was established during the height of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 to provide a reliable means for donors to support the most vulnerable.

Focussing on ‘readiness, relief and recovery’, the foundation also aims to help people be better prepared for future shocks.

Part of its remit is to fundraise and support existing charities, allowing them to focus on delivering aid.

Hunter said, “We are working with well-run organisations like ARK to address the areas of need we see in the community.”

He said R3 has a strong governance structure and donors could take comfort that their money would be well spent. R3 Foundation is run by a board of business and community leaders. Richard Coles, the former attorney general, is the ‘supervisor’ and Governor Martyn Roper is listed as the ‘principal’.

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