Published On: Mon, Aug 27th, 2018

SMDF delivers yet another home

Keith Franca SMDF hands over key to Junior Cannegieter new home - 20180827 TR

CAY BAY — Junior Cannegieter was the happy recipient of keys to his newly built bunker-style and hurricane-proof home handed over during a brief ceremony by SMDF Director, Keith Franca, in the presence of Chris Johnson of the Dutch Representative’s Office of The Netherlands in Philipsburg on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK), Joseph Dollison, supervisory head of the technical team overseeing the home building projects and members of the Cannegieter family.

A former Mullet Bay worker in the Food & Beverage Department, Junior Cannegieter, after hurricane Irma destroyed his wooden dwelling in Cay Bay on the Cannegieter Drive, spent many months in shelters at The Festival Village, the Little League Ball Park and at the transition shelter (T-Shelter) in Sucker Garden, managed by the Dr. J. Foundation, before finally being driven back to Cay Bay to see his new home wholly built from poured concrete reinforced with steel.

Also present at the ceremony was a sister of Cannegieter whose house, also located on the Cannegieter Drive, is scheduled to be worked on next week. Dutch Representative Chris Johnson pointed out in a brief speech that the reconstruction of these homes was “about real people” with real lives needing real homes to live in.

Dorian Neijs with Junior Cannegieter - 20180827 TR

Also on hand during the short ceremony was Social Worker, Dorian Neijs, who counseled and assisted Cannegieter during his stay at the transition shelter under the management of Dr. Judith Arndell of the Dr. J. Foundation. In an interview with StMaartenNews.com, Neijs said that there were about 23 people in transition at the shelter and that more families were coming into the shelter every day as more people are losing their jobs, cannot continue to pay their rents and many landlords not fixing the homes these people were living in despite them paying the rent in full.

The T-shelter is equipped to house families in several separate units dedicated for such. However, the shelter is only designed to house a maximum of 65 people. With only 62 homes completed during the rebuilding process the past 11 months, it is only “a drop in the bucket” according to SMDF’s Keith Franca, who hopes with additional funding from the World Bank, more homes can be repaired.

So far with the money provided by the remaining AMFO funds and funding from the Dutch government via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK), SMDF has been able to complete 29 homes in the first phase of the early recovery period with another 59 homes due to be delivered in the second phase of the post-recovery period.

Nevertheless, the need for social housing is urgent and all organizations active in the rebuilding phase are hoping for more funding to be provided by the World Bank to fulfill the growing need for proper housing that are also capable of withstanding the category strength of the likes of hurricane Irma.

Dorian Neijs Keith Franca with Junior Cannegieter Chris Johnson Joseph Dollison - 20180827 TR

Photo caption: From left to right, Social Worker (Dr. J. Enterprises) Dorian Neijs, SMDF Director Keith Franca, Senior Citizen Junior Cannegieter, Dutch Representative Chris Johnson, Technical Team Supervisor Joe Dollison and members of the Cannegieter family on hand for the handing over ceremony of the keys to the newly built bunker-style and hurricane-proof home of Junior Cannegieter. Photos by TR.