The new Grotto at Belvue Rawle
The new Grotto at Belvue Rawle

Money and skills can make or break any project.

And in the case of the Home for the Homeless, the lack of money and building skills are keeping the homeless without a home.

The SUN has been told that a lack of finances and poor construction practices are two of the major challenges delaying the opening of the new Grotto Home facility at Bellevue Rawle.

It has been under construction for quite some time; yet it has a long way to go before welcoming its residents.

Paul Green, a member of the Grotto Home board of directors said: "The lack of finances is our main problem right now; we used all the money we got from the sale of our first property by the Dominica Grammar School that was the old Grotto which government paid $500, 000 for."

Green said that apart from these funds various private sector entities and individuals donated to the Grotto.

Green informed us that recently he spoke with Senator Robert Tonge requesting a visit from Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to the facility for a close up view of the work that is needed to be done.

He said that although the government has given Grotto Home a grant of over $120,000 and a subvention twice a year, funds are required to complete the building.

"I think that if the Prime Minister came up to the site and saw it for himself and took a walk around he would see the need for some extra funding so that we can complete the building so the residents can move in," Green said.

Green said that two weeks ago someone from a resource centre which provided funding called for information as to the expected date the new facility may open.

He said that there is still quite a bit of work to do; therefore, it is impossible to give a date at this time.

In addition, Green said that apart from finances the construction of the building was poor.

He said that the contractor did not use proper materials and therefore a lot of work had to be redone.

"Panels were taken out and replaced with proper panels, the shelter to get into the facility had to be redone," said Green.

In addition all the windows had to be changed because they were not suitable for the facility. Matilda Charles of Morne Daniel donated a number of windows to the Grotto Home.

He noted that the relocation of the facility's septic tank is also delaying the process of completion.

He said the Environmental Health Department visited the facility and informed the board that the septic tank was located close to the kitchen; therefore, it has to be relocated.

Green said that work has not begun on obtaining a new septic tank which will cost about $7,000.

He added that for the past two years the President of the Grotto and the PRO Parry Bellot have been saying that residents can move in since the facility is in better condition than the current residence.

"What they are figuring is that we can move them there and any works could be continued while the persons were up there. I kept on telling them that the people are human beings and they cannot be subjected to those kind of things," said Green.

Furthermore, he said the building is not properly painted and is in need of more coats of paint.

He said that currently, one 20ft and one 40ft container needed to be properly relocated.

"At the moment one the things we were waiting on last week was a contractor to move containers and also use his heavy equipment to bulldoze some of the earth where the containers will be allocated," he said.