Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Food For The Poor to the rescue

Published:Sunday | June 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Some of the houses built by Food For The Poor for victims of the 1999 fire on St James Street.

Residents of some inner city communities, who have been beneficiaries of Food For The Poor houses, after their initial houses were destroyed by fire, are fearful that any spark from a neighbouring property could result in them being left yet again without a roof over their heads.

The residents' fear is based on the fact that the non-governmental organisation often times replaces their burnt down houses with units made of board and zinc and usually in clusters.

But senior director of construction services at Food For The Poor, Ron Burgess, says the organisation usually builds houses in a crisis situation and employs the quickest method of construction.

"When we build and we replace homes for fire victims, we look at the immediate need. What we do is we build with the understanding that people will be far more careful than before," said Burgress.

"Many of them are left with no dwelling at all and the intention is to give them something habitable and to protect the children. Also to allow them to pick up their lives, to expedite it we do the wooden house construction."

Burgress noted that the Food For The Poor houses can stand up to the test of hurricanes, but where fires are concerned it is up to the residents to exercise caution.

"We contend that the structures that we put up, if persons are careful and conscious of their environment, they will have a decent place to live and it is in that spirit that we replace these houses," said Burgress. "And to be honest we have never replaced a concrete house with a wooden house, what we would do is when we come across concrete houses that are destroyed we contribute to replacing it."