Envision Tomorrow Housing Recovery Program Kicks Off Construction Phase in June

VIHFA Executive Director Daryl Griffith testifies before the V.I. Senate. (Photo by Barry Leedam for the V.I. Legislature)
VIHFA Executive Director Daryl Griffith testifies before the V.I. Senate in April. (File photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)

The Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority’s (VIHFA or Authority) Envision Tomorrow Homeowner Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program has issued its first set of Notices to Proceed (NTP) to contractors kicking off active construction in the highly-anticipated housing recovery program.

Homes on St. Croix will be under construction in June to repair damages sustained during hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Rehabilitation work includes roof repairs, replacing windows, tiles, electrical upgrades, etc.

“The Authority is happy to begin the construction phase of the Envision Tomorrow Homeowner Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program. We’re committed to delivering quality service while fully complying with strict HUD (Housing and Urban Development) policies and guidelines in every stage of a lengthy process while navigating around challenges such as Covid-19.” said VIHFA Executive Director Daryl Griffith.

“Now many homes are in queue to receive their Notice to Proceed in the coming weeks and months,” he said.

Following the onboarding of the construction management firm, Armand, in October 2019, inspectors begun damage assessments to hundreds of eligible applicants in the program. Once damage assessments were complete, all properties went through a HUD-mandated environmental review to check for mold, asbestos and lead-based paint. The eligibility process included a review of duplication of benefits, residency, low to moderate income verification and proof of storm damage.

Griffith said, “I am very proud that over 90 percent of the contractors on this program are local.”

Over 50 local general contractors are registered with VIHFA. They are awarded projects based on their performance record and capacity to perform repairs on homes in a reasonable amount of time.

Contractors must adhere to strict delivery timelines developed by the VIHFA planning and construction team. Project timelines range from two weeks to six months based on the severity of storm damage.

“Building a long-term recovery program from the ground up is a lengthy process given the territory’s limited access to ready and available construction material. The entire team at the VIHFA is committed to following the federal guidelines and incorporating our applicants’ input. As we achieve this milestone, we thank residents for their continued patience as we work towards rebuilding hurricane-damaged homes,” VIHFA Chief Disaster Recovery Officer David Martin said.

The Envision Tomorrow program is funded by an initial $60 million CDBG-DR grant from U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is designed to assist homeowners and landlords whose properties were heavily damaged by the 2017 hurricanes.

For more information, contact the EnVIsion Tomorrow case managers at 1-888-239-3387 or online at www.vistormrecovery.com.