Published On: Fri, Nov 29th, 2019

The residents of the Hurricane Irma Re-integration Program Shelter IS not being evicted

Dr. J. Foundation - Hurricane Irma Reintegration Program (30)By Dr. J Foundation

November 28, 2019

We wish to provide clarification on the status of the Hurricane Irma Re-integration Temporary Shelter program (H.I.R.P.S) which was established by the then Ministry of VSA in collaboration with the Dr. J Foundation. The shelter is managed by the Dr. J Foundation

The shelter program was established as a two years program in the beginning of 2018  and is fully financed by the Government.  The aim of this program was to provide temporary living arrangements, support, the necessary assistance and guidance for the persons misplaced by Hurricane Irma that would have otherwise been homeless. The objective of this program is to assist and to empower the residents as they regain their sense of independence.

A team of social workers and psychologists worked very closely with the residents in providing assistance with their various needs. Such as job hunting, preparing resumes, assisting with and championing their applications for social services, budgeting, seeking affordable housing, etc.

The program has been very successful; Since the beginning of the operations and to date a total of 104 persons were admitted to the shelter and have actively participated in the re-integration program. The majority of these persons have already successfully been re-integrated into the community and in independent living.

There is no crisis of 40 families who will be homeless at the closing of the H.I.R.P.S or on November 30 2019. To date the population currently residing in the shelter consists of 11 children, 15 adults (6 families), 7 pensioners, thus bringing the total persons currently residing in the shelter to 32 persons. The number of residents remaining in the shelter continues to decrease as the days go by as several persons are moving out and into their newly found apartments.

All residents knew from at their signing of their living agreement and admittance into the shelter that their stay at the shelter was temporary. Since beginning of August all residents have been receiving letters regarding the upcoming deadline to vacate the shelter. Again, in October the residents received letters to remind them and to motivate them towards finding other living arrangements. Residents will continue to receive letters regarding finding alternative living arrangements.  We cannot wait until the last minute to remind and motivate persons to be activate in finding alternative living arrangements. Though some residents have become very complacent and unwilling to move to independent living, there is no intention of Dr. J Foundation to put anyone out on the streets.

Therefore, the social workers continue to work very hard in finding suitable living arrangements for the remaining residents in the shelter. The biggest challenge is indeed obtaining affordable housing

There are currently four families who are in need of 2 bedrooms apartment as well as persons in need of one-bedroom apartments. There are still 3 persons who needs assistance with home repairs in terms of building materials and labor.  There is also an exit plan in place for the pensioners where they will transition into other living arrangements.

We are open for assistance in finding suitable and affordable one and two bedroom apartments as well as building materials and for those persons who are still in need of supplies to repair their homes

As the program is coming to an end, the goal is to continue to work diligently with the remaining residents and to have everyone successfully re-integrated in the community.

Dr. J. Arndell
Director of Dr. J Foundation