Mapp Says 10,000 Jobs Will Be Created By Home Repairs Program … 2,500 Filled By Virgin Islanders
CHRISTIANSTED — Gov. Kenneth Mapp said about 10,000 jobs will be available with the new Emergency Home Repairs V.I. Program.
Speaking on Wednesday at his weekly media briefing at Government House on St. Croix, Mapp said the local workforce was expected to fill at least a quarter of these positions.
“We say 2,500 to 3,000 because we measure that against everything else that is going on in the Virgin Islands in terms of work driven by insurance claim dollars both in the residential community and the commercial community, regular construction that has to take place (and) that’s going on,” the governor said.
Job and contractor fairs will begin on Tuesday, February 20 at the Juan F. Luis Hospital, Virgin Islands Cardiac Center conference rooms 1 and 2 on St. Croix. On Thursday, February 22, the fair will be held at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center Arena on St.Thomas, and on Friday, February 23 at Gallows Point Resort, Ocean 362 Restaurant on St. John.
At least 1,000 applications have been submitted as of February 13 for the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority (VIHFA) program, which was launched last month. AECOM, an American multinational engineering firm, won the bid for the project, and will work with a number of subcontractors across the territory.
Daryl Griffith, executive director of the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority, said: “The true emergency in this program is that in five months we are going to be right back in hurricane season in the Virgin Islands. We would like to do everything possible to get all of our citizens in safe and habitable homes before that happens.”
He said through the program, officials were hoping to repair up to 12,000 homes in the Territory that were damaged during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. For those that qualify, a maximum of $25,000 in repairs per home can be expected.
Mapp encouraged everyone who suffered damage by the hurricanes to participate in the program. “Do not lose hope, even if you may have been disapproved for personal assistance or maybe you were disapproved for an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan. Being not approved will not bar you from participating in this program,” Mapp assured.
To qualify, applicants must be the owner of the home and the home must be their primary residence. Applicants must be able to show storm damage and have a FEMA registration number. To apply for a FEMA registration number residents can call 1-800-621-3362 or log on to disasterassistance.gov.
Applicants for the Emergency Home Repairs V.I. Program may call 1-844-813-9191 to register or log on to www.ehrvi.com. Another option to register is to visit the walk-in application centers. On St. Croix it is located at the Rotary Club West, #40 KA-KD Estate LaGrange.
On St. Thomas, residents may visit Tutu Park Mall, Suite 233; and on St. John, the walk-in center is located at the Legislature of the Virgin Islands. All centers are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The centers are closed on Sundays.
Addressing overtime payments to employees of the V.I. Department of Human Services, Governor Mapp assured that funds will be released on February 15 and March 1.