Context and Objectives
The housing sector in Caribbean nations is often the most financially affected sector in the aftermath of natural disasters, such as was the case when hurricanes Maria and Irma struck the region in 2017. The vulnerabilities of the housing sector are exacerbated by increasing urbanization, which has had a major impact in Caribbean land and housing markets. The availability of quality and affordable housing has not been able to meet the demand as more people move to urban centers looking for better opportunities. The limited availability of serviced land is another significant contributor to skyrocketing costs that price out households looking for affordable housing. As a result, these households end up living in low-quality structures to meet their housing needs, making them especially vulnerable to natural disasters. This situation has created a need for a comprehensive reform of regional housing policies
This project supports the governments of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Dominican Republic, and Saint Lucia in undertaking such reforms through a better understanding of the links between urbanization, supply constraints, housing affordability, and the increasing vulnerability of the housing sector to natural disasters. The objective is to support each government to undertake an analysis to address the situation, and to design roadmaps for further steps based on those efforts.
Activities carried out by the project are organized into the following three components, with some variability for each country:
- Component 1: Rapid Housing Sector Assessment.
- Component 2: Housing Stock Resilience Analysis.
- Component 3: Retrofit Strategy.
Policy dialogue with the government of the Dominican Republic has advanced significantly. The project has enabled the development of the Rapid Housing Sector Assessment, which included a review of the Housing Law and National Housing Plan, leading to the integration of resilient housing policy topics into the country’s housing agenda. Furthermore, two workshops were organized in October 2020 on international good practices related to housing legislation in order to strengthen the draft Housing Law of the Dominican Republic, which gathered 30 government counterparts, including 12 women. These workshops also led to the delivery of two knowledge products to the government, the first outlining recommendations to strengthen the draft Housing Law and the other serving as a checklist for the establishment of a National Housing Plan in the country.
Partnerships and Coordination
Activities are discussed and coordinated with the EU delegation to ensure that they are in alignment with Component 2 of the Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility. Activities are implemented by the World Bank Urban and Disaster Risk Management Latin America and Caribbean team, in collaboration with relevant bodies of the governments of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and Saint Lucia.