Categorized | National News

Finding Homes for Evacuees Challenges BREA

The Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) is facing a challenge as it tries to find affordable homes for evacuees in Nassau. 

BREA President Christine Wallace-Whitfield and her 600 members have been actively seeking long term accommodation for evacuees, the majority being from Abaco.

“They have a certain price budget. So they stuck to more of the lower end because some of them have lost everything and have very little savings, so they have a budget they need to stick to,” the president said.

“Now you have that budget or that price mark has been basically filled. There’s basically nothing more on the market in that price budget and that’s basically maybe anywhere from $800 up to $1,500, $1,600, $1,800.

“Basically, what’s left on the market is you have lot of properties that are maybe $2,000 to $2,500 and above.” 

According to Wallace-Whitfield, the evacuees are mostly looking for short term rentals, but landlords want long term tenants.

The Ministry of Social Services has been working to find permanent housing and conducting assessments to determine the type of help people who need to get back on their feet. 

Leading real estate broker and entrepreneur Mario Carey said the government should consider using repossessed homes to house displaced evacuees who want long term housing.

However, Wallace-Whitefield agrees with Carey’s idea, but it would need more logistics. 

“They may turn around and say, ‘No, I’m sorry we can’t.’ Or, ‘You know what, okay maybe we could get private organizations or private companies who can maybe go in and help.’ Maybe they can put some of these properties that are distressed on a lease basis for rent,” she added.

For persons wondering if there are enough homes in the capital to accommodate displaced evacuees, plus the current residences in Nassau, Wallace-Whitfield believes there is enough space.

“But there’s just not enough buildings to accommodate everybody,” she added.  

“I noticed a lot buildings that are not completed and I thought to myself, ‘Oh that’s nice.  That would be great.’  We can get that and fix it up.  That’s a few families in there.”  

Written by Jones Bahamas

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