Climate-resilient homes in Dominica are a crucial aspect of the Island’s commitment to sustainable building projects.

Bold steps are being taken towards a sustainable future by prioritising climate-resilient homes in Dominica. The nation explores innovative initiatives and eco-friendly practices aimed at building a resilient and environmentally conscious community.

The government recognises the obligation to provide low-income families with access to modern, affordable, and climate-resilient homes.

The Dominica Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme has emerged as a key driver in the nation’s pursuit of climate-resilient infrastructure, particularly in the construction of homes that can withstand environmental challenges.

Goal of 5,000 Climate-Resilient Homes

With a goal of constructing and distributing 5,000 such homes, the initiative is a response to the pressing need for resilient housing.

Over the past four years, the government has already made significant strides, having built, and distributed multiple homes to families affected by Hurricane Maria.

This effort underscores the importance of creating climate-resilient homes in Dominica, ensuring the well-being and safety of its citizens in the face of environmental challenges.

Over the last two decades, the Government has consistently fulfilled its social contract by prioritising the expansion and enhancement of the housing stock. This commitment is evident through various housing schemes and renovation programmes.

Sustainable Housing Solutions Partnership

The government of Dominica is actively fulfilling its commitment to construct sustainable homes through a partnership with Sustainable Housing Solutions Limited, a regional company specialising in precast concrete home structures.

Homes have been built using two models from Sustainable Housing Solutions Ltd, with additional units under construction in various locations across Dominica, including Portsmouth, Kalinago Territory, Melville Hall, and Cochrane.

In support of this initiative, a Precast Concrete factory has been completed in Jimmit, and the Ministry is set to introduce three more models to facilitate the completion of homes in Dominica as part of the overall agreement.

Empowering Kalinago Communities

The Government of Dominica, in collaboration with the European Development Fund (EDF), delivered new climate-resilient homes to residents in the Kalinago Territory in June 2022. The Kalinago, formerly known as Island Caribs or simply Caribs, are an indigenous people of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean.

The success of Dominica’s CBI Programme in fostering climate-resilient homes is also attributed to strategic partnerships between the government and private enterprises.

Collaborations with construction companies, architects, and sustainability experts have resulted in innovative solutions for resilient housing, creating a synergy that leverages both public and private sector expertise.

At a cost of EC$10 million, ongoing construction is underway in the communities of Sineku, Bataca, Touna, Concord, with the aim of reducing risk vulnerability and enhancing climate resilience in the Kalinago Territory.

This housing project is a result of three works contracts signed in September 2021.

The Ministry of Environment, Rural Modernisation, Kalinago Upliftment, and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development are collaborating to create access and facilitate construction in various locations.

The Office of the National Authorising Officer for the European Development Fund oversees the project, while technical support is provided by the Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD).

Transforming Petro Casa Structures

Ninety Petro Casa buildings have undergone reconstruction to become resilient concrete homes across various locations, including Grand Bay, Dubique, Lilly Valley, Plat Ma Pierre, Chance, Stockfarm, Castle Bruce, and San Sauveur. A Petrocasa (“Oil House”) is a type of Venezuelan family houses.

Further reconstruction is set to commence in the new fiscal cycle, focusing on additional units for the Dubique Resettlement at Center in Grandbay.

Revitalising Salisbury Educational Facility

This project aimed at rehabilitating two severely damaged buildings at the Salisbury Educational Facility, which suffered extensive destruction during Hurricane Maria.

The first floor, including the roof and contents, was demolished, forcing staff to use inadequate upper floors for teaching.

Health concerns, including mosquito-borne illnesses, mould, and rodents, further hampered the learning environment, negatively impacting student performance and community well-being.

Comprehensive Rehabilitation Approach

The rehabilitation efforts focused on re-roofing, furnishings, structural repairs (including retrofitting), and the provision of equipment and furniture.

Developed in collaboration with national institutions leading Dominica’s recovery, the proposal aimed to build back better, ensuring resilient communities and robust buildings.

The project, prioritised by the Government, benefited vulnerable communities through site clearance, procurement and installation of roofing, repairs of doors and windows, electrical installations, and structural repairs.

Improving Learning Environments and Community Resilience

The intervention successfully minimised disruptions to the learning and development of students, restoring access to a safe educational facility.

The CBI Programme has played a role in community engagement and awareness regarding climate resilience.

Educational initiatives and workshops on sustainable living practices are organised in tandem with housing projects, fostering a sense of responsibility and resilience within the communities.

Through the establishment of Early Warning Systems, the project reduced the vulnerability of beneficiaries to extreme weather events and potential future disruptions, contributing to the overall resilience of the Salisbury community.

Advancing Climate-Resilience Infrastructure

In pursuit of Dominica’s vision for climate resilience, the European Commission has played a pivotal role in financing the construction of two regional emergency shelters, benefitting over 500 individuals in Castle Bruce and Jimmit.

These self-contained facilities, equipped with alternative power and water storage, are designed to accommodate those affected by severe storms for up to two weeks.

Community Development and Disaster Preparedness

As part of continuous community development initiatives, the Local Government Division has actively contributed to strengthening disaster risk mitigation and preparation.

In collaboration with the International Organization for Migration, the Division has provided crucial support for the renovation of seven emergency shelters, reinforcing the nation’s capacity to respond effectively to emergencies.

Hurricane Maria’s Devastating Impact

The significant progress made in the housing sector was severely disrupted by the destructive force of Hurricane Maria.

The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) revealed extensive damage, estimating a total loss of EC$955 million, predominantly affecting the private sector with losses reaching EC$77 million.

Government’s Ongoing Support and Investment

Despite the setback, the Government, through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, allocated a total investment of EC$117.4 million.

This funding was directed towards supporting projects aimed at not only rebuilding the housing sector but also improving access to modern, affordable housing for low-income families.

The funds generated through the CBI Programme have been strategically allocated to support housing projects with a strong emphasis on climate resilience.

These resources have enabled the government to invest in cutting-edge construction techniques, materials, and technologies.

The focus extended to the restoration of displaced persons and regularisation of families in squatting conditions.

Addressing Vulnerability in Housing

The beneficiaries of these efforts are primarily vulnerable families facing challenging housing and living conditions.

The Government’s commitment aligns with its policy stance on housing provision, as demonstrated by the dominance of housing interventions in the 2023/2024 overall capital expenditure outturn, amounting to EC$69.1 million.

Incorporating Innovative Designs

One notable aspect of the CBI-funded housing projects is the incorporation of innovative and climate-smart designs.

Architects and engineers have been empowered to create homes that go beyond traditional standards, integrating features such as reinforced structures, elevated foundations, and storm-resistant materials.

These design elements aim to minimise damage and ensure the safety of residents during extreme weather events.