By CARA HUNT
THE Urban Renewal Foundation will be relaunched with the goal of raising at least $3m to assist with community projects.
Lisa Rahming, Minister of State for Social Services and Urban Renewal, told members of the House of Assembly that they hope to relaunch the initiative that was originally started back in 2013 under the leadership of the then Urban Renewal Commission co-chairs Algernon Allen and Cynthia “Mother” Pratt.
The Urban Renewal Foundation serves as a government non-profit facility for depositing financial donations by governments, local and international corporate citizens, and private individuals to fund Urban Renewal projects and other community programmes.
“Very shortly, the Urban Renewal Commission intends to relaunch the foundation, which has been dormant for a few years.
“The Urban Renewal Foundation will now be under the leadership of two highly respected and influential Bahamians, Urban Renewal Commission Chairman Stephen Dean, and Foundation Consultant Dr Sheena Moss. They will be assisted by several soon-to-be-named, highly respected individuals who will serve as foundation members,” she said during her contribution to the budget debate.
“I am confident that under the able leadership of chairman Dean and Dr Moss, a goodly number of local and international partnerships will be forged, all of which will no doubt be persuaded to give generously to the Urban Renewal Foundation for financing Urban Renewal’s beautiful projects and programmes.”
The funds raised will assist with several projects throughout the Bahamas, including the Urban Renewal Band, Urban Renewal Youth Cadet Corps, Urban Renewal Sporting League, Urban Renewal Second Chance programme, and Urban Renewal Afterschool Academic Achievers programme and Urban Renewal GED programme.
“I wish to thank all who have given and will continue to give generously to this most worthy cause. I anticipate that after the relaunch, we will see a flurry of new sponsors and donors giving to this cause. We are seeking to raise three million dollars minimum.”
She also noted that Urban Renewal will establish Citizens Advisory Committees (URCAC) in every community where Urban Renewal Centres are located.
“The Citizens Advisory Committee will serve in an advisory capacity to the centres as a workgroup of community members who are passionate about the well-being of their whole community and understand the importance of engaging others in addressing issues that impact the quality of life in neighbourhoods,” she explained.
Members will work to identify community problems and work with community partners to find solutions.
Other initiatives she outlined in her speech include the Urban Renewal Small Home Repairs programme that will inject just over $2.6m across the country to repair the homes of those most in need and the Urban Renewal Institute for Success – Second Chance Programme.
“Participants will enroll in a thoughtful, strategic six-month programme that focuses on healing just as much as it focuses on developing work readiness skills. The programme will consist of in-class academic studies, on-the-job training, and instruction in literature, economics, philosophy, and civic engagement.
“Participants will also learn professional and life skills: personal finance, career planning, business communications, business etiquette, public speaking, self-advocacy, and conflict resolution. Qualified facilitators will teach classes. Additionally, treatment for mental health and substance abuse will be offered. The programme is projected to launch in September 2022 in New Providence, followed by a launch in Grand Bahama in November 2022.”