Housing project targets vulnerable families

Families in need of assistance for better housing, or to refurbish existing dwellings in very poor condition, will be the target of a project to which the government has allocated $1 million tala for from the recent stimulus package.

The Adventist Disaster Relief Agency Samoa (A.D.R.A.) is identified as the only implementing partner for this project.

But the Agency's Country Director, Su'a Julia Wallwork, acknowledges that while the project would not be able to provide for every vulnerable family in Samoa, this is only the start.

“Our Government can’t provide for every vulnerable family but it’s a good start and I hope it’ll lead to bigger things,” Su’a said.

The selection criteria for a family to be eligible for the assistance are that they should have very low income or no source of income at all. 

“When I say very low, I mean just getting a few taros from the plantation and being able to sell it or fishing overnight and being able to sell them,” Su’a added “The dwelling must be very dilapidated. 

“It can either be a woman headed household where there’s no father figure or no support and also the number of people living under that dwelling.”

Another part of the criteria is that there are no utilities or basic necessities such as water for the families. 

The project hasn’t started yet, but the ADRA team are conducting assessments and going around Upolu and then Savai’i to identify the vulnerable of vulnerable families. 

“We’re working with [the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development] through the Pulenu’u and Sui Tamaita’i to go into every community where there are known families,” Su’a added

A panel has been selected to include the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development, the Ministry of Finance, ADRA and an independent member from the E.P.C. (Electric Power Corporation).

“We’re holding dialogue with [the Ministry of Finance] because it just doesn’t happen overnight and we have to make sure that there’s a fair process for selections,” Su’a said

Housing assistance from the government is something that has been on A.D.R.A.’s wish-list for a while. However they have also helped some homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity New Zealand. 

“To me sitting from a [non-Government organisation] perspective, I can’t thank the government enough for reaching out because this is a direct need of reaching out to the most vulnerable of vulnerable,” Su’a added


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