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Sunday, October 17, 2021
HomeNewsLocal governmentFEMA Obligates $7.6M to VIHA to Repair Marley Homes, Head Start Facilities

FEMA Obligates $7.6M to VIHA to Repair Marley Homes, Head Start Facilities

VIHA Director Robert Graham testifies at the Senate Tuesday on the state of V.I. public housing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)
VIHA Director Robert Graham testifies at the Senate. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)

The Office of Disaster Recovery has announced that the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) has been obligated $7,613,710 to complete repairs to Marley Homes and Additions in Frederiksted. The funds obligated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the Public Assistance Program have been allocated to refurbish 19 residential structures, as well as the community center, office and Head Start buildings.

After hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the VIHA worked to execute immediate repairs to ensure that the residents of the community had safe and habitable homes. These initial renovations addressed fencing, flooring, roofing and electrical work as well as solar water heater replacement and various bathroom renovations.

In furtherance of this work, VIHA has procured O’Reilly Plumbing and Construction to complete additional permanent roofing repairs to the hurricane-damaged sections of the waterfront property. The target completion date is Oct. 30. The appropriate solicitations to complete the outstanding portions of the scope will be drafted and released to the public.

“The Housing Authority is pleased to be at the point that we can provide relief in the form of repairs to our very patient residents of Marley Homes and Additions,” said Robert Graham, executive director of the Virgin Islands Housing Authority.

The Marley Head Start location traditionally provided early childhood education through the Department of Human Services Head Start Program to families who resided in the town of Frederiksted. Now shuttered due to extensive damages by the storms, FEMA’s obligations will allow for the full restoration of the facility and services to the surrounding neighborhoods.

“Completion of our housing communities and their auxiliary facilities is essential to bringing relief and routine to the daily lives of residents,” said Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, Office of Disaster Recovery director. “The revitalization of public housing is a top priority. We will continue to work collectively with the Virgin Islands Housing Authority and FEMA to rebuild resilient communities throughout the territory.”

To date, the VIHA has been obligated just over $192 million, and with the infusion of mitigation funding, residents should feel safer knowing that measures will be instituted to prevent similar damages from occurring.

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