St. John’s, Antigua – Friday, January 31, 2020 – The Prince’s Foundation has reported progress in its initiative to provide resilient homes for families made homeless by the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The Calvin Ayre Foundation has contributed a total of US$1m to the project that will directly help families made homeless by the natural disaster more than two years ago. With this support, together with funding and planning work involving the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, The Barbuda Council, The Halo Foundation and other donors, the Wa’omoni Cottages proposal can now move to the next stage.
The project is at the advanced design phase, land has been allocated and cleared by the Barbuda Council, and it is hoped construction will begin in the coming months to provide for those who lost their homes in the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The homes will meet or exceed all local codes and be designed to withstand a category 5 hurricane, with a minimum 180mph wind load as well as seismic forces. The cottages’ design respects local character and style with recipients being able to customize the look of their homes through a combination of elements such as shutter designs and colour. The finalised design and engineering of the homes is currently being completed, as well as the site layout, and it is hoped construction will begin in the coming months.
The houses will be allocated to those who lost their homes completely in the 2017 hurricanes, prioritising those in greatest need through a process overseen by a five-person Beneficiary Selection Committee comprising representatives of The Barbuda People’s Movement, The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party, United Nations Development Programme, National Office of Disaster Services, and the Barbuda Council of Churches.
Jeremy Cross of The Prince’s Foundation, who is in Antigua and Barbuda to help advance the plans, said: “We are excited to be working closely with the local community and our key partners to help rebuild, and create much-needed homes that are resilient, sustainable and appropriate for Barbuda.”
The Prince’s Foundation’s support to Barbuda follows a visit to the twin-island state by charity president HRH The Prince of Wales following the 2017 disaster. Having seen the desolation first-hand, The Prince’s Foundation wanted to help rebuild in a way that ensures housing is resilient in the face of future climate challenges. The Calvin Ayre Foundation, well known for a range of philanthropic activity and support in Antigua and Barbuda and beyond, was also keen to find a way to respond to the housing needs of the people of Barbuda, supplying funding and technical support to the design and construction of the housing.
Ambassador Ayre said: “The Calvin Ayre Foundation is very pleased to be a part of this extremely noteworthy undertaking. The people of Barbuda suffered significant mental trauma and property devastation from the ravages of the recent hurricanes. I am happy that my foundation could assist Barbudans through this difficult rebuilding process. I also feel confident that the new homes to be constructed on Barbuda will have the necessary resilience to offer greater protection in times of natural disasters. My foundation is committed, in collaboration with the other partners, to make this project a resounding success.”
Her Excellency, Lady Sandra Williams, said “The Halo Foundation is happy to be associated with the Prince’s Foundation in this initiative, which will help to bring back a sense of normalcy to the people of Barbuda after such a devastating experience. The Foundation,” she added, “will be contributing to the project by providing furnishings and appliances.”
In the design and development of the new homes, The Prince’s Foundation and The Calvin Ayre Foundation have worked with Marianne Cusato, of US-based Cypress Community Development Corporation and an experienced local professional team including architect Iza Goodwin-Michael and engineer Wayne Martin. Cypress, known for its expertise in disaster recovery rebuilding efforts, built more than 450 homes in Louisiana after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as in Florida following Hurricane Irma.
The Foundation team met with Prime Minister Gaston Browne to review plans for the homes. Support for the project will be provided by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, by waiving all taxes and fees that would otherwise be payable. “‘After discussions that started two years ago, we are now in a position to see this project get underway and take off,’ PM Browne said, ‘and what will emerge is a beautiful project that will be the pride of Barbuda and a project that will assist greatly with climate resilience.’
The Barbuda Council has been closely involved in the development of the initiative, identifying land that has now been cleared and surveyed, in preparation for construction to start as soon as the planning phase is complete. “We look forward to working with the three Foundation partners on this very important initiative and are excited to have these homes in our community,” said Calsey Beazer, of the Barbuda Council.
The chief objective of The Prince’s Foundation is to create harmonious communities. The charity aims to achieve this by developing and managing places to visit, running a diverse education curriculum for all ages with particular focus on traditional and heritage skills, and offering employment, most notably at its headquarters at Dumfries House in Ayrshire and in London. Its activity spans the world, with education programmes and placemaking initiatives in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.
The Calvin Ayre Foundation is an independent charitable giving organization, based in Antigua. Its mission is to build a brighter future by contributing to the areas of Child Welfare, Education, Social Development, Emergency Response and Animal Welfare. For over 10 years The Foundation has been proud to work with local organizations, experts, and communities to make real change for thousands of people in over 8 countries around the world, including Antigua, Philippines, Jamaica, Vietnam, Dominica and the United States.
The Halo Foundation’s mission is advocacy and support for the underprivileged and vulnerable. It is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and founded by Lady Sandra Williams. The Foundation assists 33 charitable bodies and organizations which fall under the patronage of Their Excellencies Sir Rodney and Lady Williams. There is also a youth arm of the Foundation known as Generation Y, which undertakes to assist all the charities under Halo through the leadership and resourcefulness of its young and dynamic team of volunteers. One area of particular concern is that of youth at risk, and the eradication of bullying in schools.
For more information on The Prince’s Foundation, contact [email protected]
For more information on The Calvin Ayre Foundation, visit www.calvinayrefoundation.org.
For more information on The Halo Foundation, visit www.foundationhalo.org