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Govt.'s $1 million housing project brings smiles to family of 10

A family of ten from Leusoali'i, who struggled to sleep under a leaking roof for months, is the recipient of a new home thanks to a $1 million Government shelter building project. 

The funding assistance was allocated as part of the Government’s second round of economic stimulus package designed to offset the effects of the COVID-19 led economic downturn. The Adventist Development Relief Agency (A.D.R.A.) Samoa is overseeing the project operations with T.N. Construction carrying out the work.

The family of Tinifu Fonoti is one of the 170 families in difficult living conditions – including some featured in the Samoa Observer's Village Voice column - that will benefit from the Government’s assistance to improve their living situations.  

The family of Mr. Fonoti was part of the families identified by A.D.R.A. The father of ten told the Samoa Observer that his family recently moved to their current residence from Aleisa after some disagreements on land issues. 

“It has not been a year since we have lived here,” he said.

The 73-year-old added that their family depends on their plantation and vegetable garden for survival.

“The money we get is through the selling our agricultural produce and if we are lucky, we earn $50 per day but that is usually not the case.

“At our previous home, it felt like you are sleeping outside, not only it is small but it is an unstable structure with a leaking roof during rainy days.

“After a rainy night, we wake up the next day and wash and dry the bed sheets that were used to cover the sides of the house from the rain to come through.

“But now we have a new home, I feel at peace for the sake of the children.”

Mr. Fonoti also relayed that he lives with his wife, some of his children and grandchildren.

“I was shocked to find out that I do not have to pay for my new house; I thank God for his guidance and blessings upon my family.

“At our previous home, I used to sell taro in front of my home but now we tend to face problems with the pigs eating and destroying our current plantation.

“It is through God’s love that we have been blessed with this new home, who would have thought that we could get a proper home so we can sleep with the children in a stable and safe structure.”

He also added that he truly believes that it was God that spoke to the minds and hearts of those in Government to help those who are poor especially vulnerable families like them that needed help but are financially unstable.

Despite having water supply, the elderly father shared his concerns about their family’s inaccessibility to electricity supply. 

“During night times we use kerosene lanterns to guide us amidst the darkness.”

To date, a total of 12 families have brand new homes some from the villages of Lufilufi, Laulii, Vaoala, Palisi while five other families from Letogo, Solosolo, Faleapuna have received home refurbishments. 

The project targets 170 families with 120 to get new homes while 50 families will undergo shelter refurbishment.

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.

Low income can include those families who live off their plantations or sell small amounts of produce.

Another criterion for receiving assistance is that a home must lack utilities such as electricity and water. 

A.D.R.A.’s selection of families to receive the benefit came after they conducted assessments around Upolu and Savai’i to identify families in need.

And it also underwent a thorough selection process with guided input from the Finance Ministry.

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