August 1, 2021

West Bay meeting leaves residents confused and angry and NHDT send press release

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P1010006The meeting between National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) officials and West Bay Affordable Housing Tenants last Thursday (22) at the Birch Tree Hill Affordable Homes Site (Apple Blossom) did more harm than good.

The NHDT is preparing to re-develop the site, and said they will work with residents to ensure the best possible results for all concerned.

All the 30 homes in Apple Blossom have been condemned by the NHDT because they say they are substandard and do not meet the building code standard of the Planning Department, even though they have been standing for 10 years.

The homes will be demolished to make way for “proper housing” said NHDT Director, George Powell and the homes were a major potential liability to the Cayman Islands government.

The meeting was called to clarify what was going to happen to all the residents who would now be homeless after the demolishing. Many of them would not now be able to qualify for new homes under the present system.

However, at the meeting, tempers flared when Powell told them they all had to go to the Department of Children and Family Services to be assessed. This assessment would determine if they would qualify for the new homes.

The confusion was what would happen to the former residents who did not qualify and they said Social Services had not played a part when they had been given the now condemned homes.

The situation got worse when activist Amjed Zureigat, who said he had been invited to the meeting to speak on the residents behalf, warned them they would be “thrown out into the streets.”

The meeting broke up with the residents even more confused and most very angry.

On Friday a press release was received by iNews Cayman from the NHDT as a “Follow Up”:

May 23, 2014

NHDT Affordable Housing Site Meeting

Apple Blossoms Affordable Housing Site

Captain Joe & Osbert Drive

West Bay, Grand Cayman

Dear Sir/Madam:

Re: Affordable Housing Tenant Meeting

Thank you for taking the time to attend the Community Meeting that was held yesterday.

Following are some points that may assist you, especially as this is still a work-in-progress.

There is a plan in place, which involved multiple agencies, including the Department of Children and Family Services.

As you may have heard communicated, no tenants are being displaced.

However, the houses they currently occupy have been condemned. In fairness to the tenants, this issue needs resolved ASAP.

I wish to stress that the Government will ensure that no-one is left homeless through this process.

The Tenants’ Process:

The Trust has been mandated to provide an assessment of the site and each family’s position. The Needs Assessment Unit of the Department of Children and Family Services will conduct personal assessments in coming weeks, following which a clearer outline of each family’s position will be outlined in the social reports.

Following this, the Trust will determine the financial status of each tenant.

Once these steps are taken, we will then determine what levels of assistance are required.

Tenants are required to participate in the assessments by the Needs Assessment Unit of the Department of Children & Family Services. In so doing, they must comply with following:

1.     Attend an appointment at the DCFS Office (already scheduled).

2.     Complete the ‘Release of Information’ form.

3.     Provide all the relevant information as required by the Intake form.

We trust that you find the above information useful.

 

END

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