26 May 2017
PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA Emil Lee announced on Wednesday that there will be a launch of the ministry’s pilot home repair project for the elderly and disabled.
“During my first tenure, it became very clear that there is a need in our community for a programme that assists our elderly and disabled who are financially disadvantaged and cannot afford to make basic repairs to their homes in order to make their homes liveable and dignified. “I believe that we have taken a very positive and structural approach, and would like to commend Aida Holaman from the Department Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA) for the exceptional job done in putting this project together. Not only is it a project that will benefit our elderly and disabled, but it also engages our youth and the business community,” said Lee.
The project will focus on eliminating safety hazards, enhancing security and improving quality of life. Three established general contractors have been selected to work on the project: K.S. General Construction & Maintenance Services, Elite Development Team and Denton’s Quality Builders N.V.
Lee commended the participating general contractors for giving back to the community and embracing this social programme understanding that there is no financial gain. These contractors are not participating driven by motivations of profit.
In addition to providing much-needed repairs to the homes of those in need, the programme is creating an opportunity for students at vocational schools to do their internships with one of the participating construction companies. Students of Milton Peters College and St. Maarten Vocational Training School will be under the supervision of the general contractors and will have the opportunity to give back to the community while gaining experience that could stimulate their interest in entering the labour sector as skilled workers.
National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) will be participating in the project in the area of hospitality and care to provide a social package to some of the seniors and disabled. This care plan package highlights areas such as hygiene in and around the home, nutrition and cooking. Seniors and disabled assisted in the programme are also subject to follow the care plan set by CDFHA to ensure that they do not regress into the same social condition(s).
Other secondary schools have also expressed interest in being involved and will assist with post-construction clean-up and general cleaning inside and around the house.
Lee expressed concerns about the limited funds available for the project and reached out to businesses that are willing to participate and provide materials on social basis to assist with the project.
Businesses interested in supporting can contact CDFHA at tel. 542-1122. Registration for this project will be closed by May 26 and anyone who would like to register can do so at various Community Help Desks. Registrants must be age 60 or more for seniors and 18 years and up for the disabled. There is no maximum age.
All registrants must go through a screening process to qualify and it is important to note that extensive repairs do not fall within the scope of this project.
Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten