Local agencies come to in one place to make preparedness easy

It might have been a party like atmosphere in Tutu Park Mall on Saturday. but what people were doing there was much more serious. 

“I did suffer some minor hurricane damages and I am right now doing the interior I did a lot of exterior so I am doing a lot of interior now,” St. Thomas homeowner Patricia Lord said.

Lord admits that she didn’t have as much devastating damage as some of the homes on St. Thomas after Hurricane Irma but she still has been recovering the last two years. 

That’s why she came to the Housing Expo on Saturday in St. Thomas, along with colleagues at the Virgin Islands Energy Department, to share advice with the community and learn new tips for themselves. 

:I was building a storage on the back of my property because the one I had got blown away from the hurricane and of course I got a ticket, a citation, because I didn’t know a permit. So I think everyone should make sure they check with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources while they’re rebuilding to make sure that they things that they’re doing is in compliance with the law,” she added.

DPNR was one of the many agencies at the expo Saturday that were armed with information ready to help make peoples’ homes more resilient. 

“Basically, we’re trying our best to get across to the masses in our community so they can better be aware and better be prepared for any natural disasters,” Devin Cole, Chief Field Superintendent with DPNR said.

Government groups and local businesses were there sharing tips and looking for ways to help Virgin Islanders as they continue to recover. 

Some coming all the way from our nations capital to lend a hand. 

“I am very fortunate in my work at FEMA to be able to come out to disasters and be part of the teams that evaluate the damage and come up with recommendations and solutions to rebuild safer and stronger,” John Ingargiola, Lead Physical Scientist with FEMA said.

He added, “so we produced construction information for stronger homes, recovery advisories, fact sheets and most importantly we helped the territory adopt and establish a robust building code and enforcement unit that is going to ensure these codes are met and that it is going to increase the safety and security of all the residents this hurricane season and for many years to come.” 

FEMA and others said they’re giving the community all the tools they need to be prepared.

Organizers of the expo, the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority along with Executive Director Daryl Griffith, said the importance of hosting events like this are to bring all of those outlets to one place. 

“We have FEMA who is presenting now, we have DPNR, the USDA and a host of others even our bank partners are here so it allows the community to come to one place and get valuable information on being in the Virgin Islands, the recovery and everything else that it means to be a homeowner in the Virgin Islands and so much more,” Daryl Griffith, Executive Director Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority added.

Now people like Lord are that much more equipped for 2019 hurricanes season.