Social domain update

SABA–Developments in the area of the social domain were discussed during the recent retreat of the Island and Executive Council.

Social support
Together with the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), the Public Entity Saba is looking into the possibility to implement a WMO-light (social support) on Saba. The Meals on Wheels is a crucial element in this. A proposal for funding has been submitted to the Dutch Government to receive funds for healthier (locally grown) food, food baskets for children and additional staff. Government already received a grant for Home support to help with cleaning at people’s homes. A plan is being drafted for Home health which will start shortly. The third pillar is to make small adjustments at homes so people can stay home longer instead of going to the old home. Government received a special grant for this and a plan is being drafted together with the Home and the hospital. Execution will start before the summer.

PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the Island and Executive Council during their recent visit tot he Under the Hill social housing project.

Artisan Foundation building
The renovation of the Artisan Foundation building in The Bottom has been completed, and the Saba Reach Foundation is moving its offices to this location. The plan is to turn part of the building into a gym and to also create a second social workplace. A plan has been sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (SZW) for funding.

Public assistance
The Island Council has requested government to come up with a new public assistance budget and to draft a clear policy on this. Both are being looked into and a plan will go to the Island Council shortly. A project will start in June this year to assist disabled persons with making small adaptations at their home such as installing railings and a ramp. Adaptations will also be made in public areas for persons who are less mobile.

Rent subsidy system
The Public Entity Saba and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) are working on the decreasing of the housing costs of households with low incomes. As part of the ‘Saba Package 2019-2022’ it has been agreed to work on reducing the housing costs, to construct social housing tenements, to develop a policy with regards to social housing, and to start the joint pilot ‘Rent(al) subsidy Saba’. The rent subsidy will also be available to the private sector.

Under the Hill homes
The Under the Hill housing project is delayed. Various factors, at all stakeholder levels, have led to this, and these are being worked out. It is anticipated that the pace will pick up and that the project will be moving along once additional skilled workers arrive on the island.