The tenants of Buildings A & B of Low
Estate, Belvedere received the keys to their apartments in a Key Giving
Ceremony hosted by the Minister VROMI Egbert J Doran and the Sint Maarten
Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) on October 11, 2022. Sixteen keys were
handed over marking the finalization of the first 2 buildings in this project.
Concerning the handover ceremony, Minister Doran said, 'I would like to take
some time to thank the stakeholders involved, namely the Ministry of VROMI,
SMHDF, and the NRPB, for their efforts in making this a reality. I also want to
say thank you to my predecessors who contributed in any way to this work as
well. I also recognize the contractors and their staff who continue to push
forward so we can have all the homes in the Towers completed."
Also present for the handover of the keys was
Maria Richardson, head of the Housing Services Department and Senior Financial
Controller of the SMHDF. Richardson was elated about the progress with the
repairs to the housing units after a lengthy process after sustaining severe
damages during hurricane Irma more than five years ago. "We are very happy
because we understand how social housing impacts the community, especially
those who are in dire need of social and affordable housing. We are happy as a
foundation together with our stakeholders who came together and made this
project a reality."
Another sixteen units are being prepared to be
handed over to the returning occupants in the next few weeks. Minister Doran
also took some time to personally visit a few homeowners in the Belvedere area
who either recently had their homes repaired or are busy finalizing repairs.
"I was very happy to see that the living conditions in some cases were
drastically improved and overall the tenants were pleased. For some, there are
still some minor repairs that I have asked the SMHDF to follow up on",
The renovation and repairs to sixty-four (64)
apartment units in the six residential towers officially began on January 26,
2022. Based on a budget of almost US $5.5 million, the planned works include
structural repairs, roof, and electrical work, and installation of doors,
windows, ceiling tiles, and plumbing fixtures.