Throughout 2020 and 2021, it became clear that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were compounding housing recovery challenges for the St. John community. Global supply logistics, widespread economic downturns, and access to affordable labor were all hindrances to a return to safe, accessible homes. Love City Strong's project takes a proactive, mitigation based approach to resilience, making relatively smaller investments now to limit more severe damage from future impacts.
HUD estimates that 74% of low and middle income residences on St. John were damaged following the 2017 hurricanes. To compound a frustrating recovery system, global supply chain challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are further driving up the cost of repair. Many residents are still left without readily available resources 5 years later. With no funding to address structural, access, and safety issues, homes are increasingly vulnerable to inclement weather, particularly hurricanes.
The Resilient Housing Initiative has to date rebuilt 36 homes. For all of these, RHI has been the sole source of reasonably priced solutions for recovery. In 2023, we continue RHI and take a proactive, mitigation based approach, making relatively smaller investments now to limit catastrophic future damages. Qualifying permanent residents include: Seniors, low/middle income families, single parent families, pregnant women, and residents with disability or chronic health conditions.
By including these smaller scopes of work within our program, we allow for progress towards resilience across a much broader segment of the community. Additionally, with our St. John community in the midst of a severe affordable housing crisis, each home repaired and rendered more accessible alleviates pressure on the existing housing market.