St. John Homes Identified for Permanent Housing Construction Assistance

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The FEMA program that helps those dwelling in damaged, but livable homes may be eligible for assistance in putting the pieces together. One hundred fourteen primary homes on St. John were recently assessed as candidates for Permanent Housing Construction.

Officials working with a program assisting residents in storm-damaged homes have identified 114 homes on St. John that may qualify for help. A spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency says homes that may qualify under the Permanent Housing Construction program have undergone inspection by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Emergency managers working in response to the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, and the subsequent heavy rains first got word that PHC was approved for the Virgin Islands in November.

“FEMA has identified 114 homes on St. John,” said spokesperson Eric Adams on Wednesday.

Adams said Army Corps inspectors visited homes of residents who applied for assistance at disaster relief centers in Cruz Bay and Coral Bay.

One hundred sixty-nine homes on St. Croix received similar visits as well as 155 homes on St. Thomas. A total of 438 homes received assessments, territory-wide as of Feb. 7, Adams said.

But, he added, “the program has not begun yet.”

PHC provides temporary repairs to eligible owner-occupied homes that suffered significant structural damage but where portions of the home are still habitable. The V.I. Housing Finance Authority has established the Emergency Home Repairs V.I Program to oversee implementation.

Details about how the program is expected to work can be found by logging onto www.ehrvi.com.

At a Nov 22 EOC meeting held at the National Park Visitors Center, FEMA representatives said the permanent housing program was intended to help those who did not qualify for the Blue Roof program.

According to information appearing on the VIFHA website, “The Program allows individuals and families to safely shelter in their own home instead of staying at shelters, hotels, or rentals while they wait for permanent repairs.”

Services provided to make damaged homes more livable come at no cost to qualified applicants. However, officials say repairs and partial reconstruction of the usable portions of the home are not intended as a complete restoration.