The Government of the Virgin Islands welcomes the approval of the first 855 applicants to receive cash benefits under the Financial Assistance Programme.
The programme is being implemented by the BVI Red Cross and Caritas Antilles with financial support from UKAID, British Red Cross, Caritas Antilles and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to provide financial assistance to vulnerable households which met the eligibility criteria.
The initiative is part of the Household Assistance Programme announced in October by Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton following a Rapid Household Needs Assessment conducted by the Social Development Department after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
A total of 1776 households registered from October 18 to 28 and were ranked based on factors such as household income, housing damage and post-hurricane living situation. Priority was given to larger households; single-parent families; households with persons with disabilities or severe health issues; families with children under five and persons over the age of 65 with no support.
Director of the BVI Red Cross, Helen Frett explained that cash-based assistance is a common practice in emergency operations around the world. “Providing financial assistance gives families the opportunity to meet the unique needs of their households; they can buy what is best for them and is most urgently needed. Every level of the economy can benefit from such assistance,” she said.
Beneficiaries can expect to receive payments of between $800 and $1,200 per month for up to three months depending on the household circumstance.
At the conclusion of the verification process the total number of households to be assisted will be 1,050.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Petrona Davies said she is pleased that the programme is at the stage where the first payments have been processed to relieve the financial burden on families, especially during this time of the year. She hailed the effective partnership between Government and the voluntary sector and invited other donors to collaborate with the Government to help families in need.