Assistance Program Faces Overwhelming Demand


Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development Tasha Bertie announced that there are more applications for the Household Assistance Program than there are items to distribute. Therefore she is imploring persons who registered to receive building materials to be understanding of the fact that they will not be able to get all that they applied for.

During a radio interview the Deputy Secretary explained that there is a shortage of items to give out as part of the program that is a collaboration between the Department and the BVI Red Cross: “The reality is we don’t have on hand as much of the materials that would actually be needed. Persons are enquiring about windows, doors and all of those other supplies; and those are not things that were readily available at the time for distribution.”

She pointed out that most of the materials received for this building distribution and assistance for home owners who suffered hurricane devastations was part of the donations from the corporate community, who supported that initiative. She further noted that the material is quite limited.

It was explained that the program received donations such as 2x4s, 2x6s, gravel, one inch steel, 90 bags of cements and plywood. However, with more than 200 applications for material the Department fears that the items may not be enough.

“Of course you know when you are talking about applications of over 200 and everybody is requesting all the similar, material things will run out after a while,” Ms. Bertie noted.

She is therefore urging the business community to donate more items: “I want to appeal to the business community to support the effort by offering supplies… or even adding vouchers as a possible option so persons can actually collect those supplies at their business place.”

As it relates to distribution of the items available the Deputy Secretary announced that this would be done in the next few weeks: “We have a timeline in which we want to ensure that we give these supplies that we do have available out to the needy. Hopefully within the next few weeks, but the supplies are dwindling a bit so I don’t suppose I would have much supplies over the next few weeks.”