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FEMA Gives $7.6M To VIHA To Repair Marley Homes and Additions: ODR

FREDERIKSTED — The Office of Disaster Recovery announces that the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) has been obligated $7,613,710 to complete repairs to Marley Homes and Additions in Frederiksted.

The funds obligated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the Public Assistance Program have been allocated to refurbish nineteen residential structures, as well as the community center, office and Head Start buildings.

After Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the Authority worked to execute immediate repairs to ensure that the residents of the community had safe and habitable homes. These initial renovations addressed fencing, flooring, roofing, and electrical work, as well as solar water heater replacement and various bathroom renovations.

VIHA has contracted O’Reilly Plumbing and Construction to complete additional permanent roofing repairs to the hurricane-damaged sections of the waterfront property. The target completion date is October 30. The appropriate solicitations to complete the outstanding portions of the scope will be drafted and released to the public.

“The Housing Authority is pleased to be at the point that we can provide relief in the form of repairs to our very patient residents of Marley Homes and Additions,” stated Robert Graham, Executive Director for the Virgin Islands Housing Authority.

The Marley Head Start location traditionally provided early childhood education through the Department of Human Services Head Start Program to families who resided in the town of Frederiksted. Now shuttered due to extensive damages by the storms, FEMA’s obligations will allow for the full restoration of the facility and services to the surrounding neighborhoods.

“Completion of our housing communities and their auxiliary facilities is essential to bringing relief and routine to the daily lives of residents,” said Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, Office of Disaster Recovery Director. “The revitalization of public housing is a top priority. We will continue to work collectively with the Virgin Islands Housing Authority and FEMA to rebuild resilient communities throughout the territory.”

To date, the Authority has been obligated just over $192 million, and with the infusion of mitigation funding, residents should feel safer knowing that measures will be instituted to prevent similar damages from occurring.

By John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.