Additional funding by Public Assistance Programme

The Daily Herald writes that the joint Public Assistance Programme between Saba and the Dutch government under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, which provides funding to seniors to repair their homes, has received US $60,000 in additional funding.

The Executive Council asked the ministry for funding to continue the programme, which helps reduce the financial burden among the elderly, and persons with low income on the island. The programme provides assistance in the amount of up to $5,000 in labour and material for home repairs.

The Executive Council filed the initial request to State Secretary of Social Affairs and Employment Jetta Klijnsma during her visit to Saba in July 2013. At that time, Klijnsma and the Executive Council visited a few homes of persons with low incomes to get a first-hand look at the issues that confront them on a regular basis. Those persons lamented on how difficult it is to maintain their homes with such little means.

The programme will continue to supplement the Public Assistance Regulation of the Island Government, which already provides an amount of up to $1,000 for persons, who can prove that they are in need of assistance to execute repairs to their home. This programme was originally intended to be a one-time grant from the Ministry, but the Executive Council requested more funding, based on the number of persons that had submitted requests. “I am glad that funding for this programme has been extended. As government, we know there are persons on fixed incomes that are unable to finance repairs on their own homes. With this additional funding, more persons will be able to receive much-needed assistance,” Commissioner of Social Affairs Bruce Zagers said.

The programme’s focus is on imminent repairs, such as damaged roofs, spouts and storm shutters, rather than structural issues. Persons who have already submitted applications will be given preference on a first-come-first-served basis. To get assistance, persons may contact Head of Public Works Russell Thielman to submit an application. The department will then do an assessment of the project to determine the cost.

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