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Resilience Cayman helps 105 year old pay her bills

Local News 22 Apr, 2022 Follow News

Jan Gupta (right) of Resilience Cayman gives a check to Sheila Henry, on behalf of Rena Alexander for her electricity bill

By Christopher Tobutt

 

At 105 years old, Rena Alexander is one of Cayman’s oldest residents, and recently, many prominent people came to wish her a wonderful happy birthday. But sadly, her home on Shamrock Road was damaged by last year’s hurricane. Resilience Cayman stepped in to help repair her home, and it was then that they found out that her CUC bills were overdue, and as a result, her electricity has been disconnected.

Resilience Cayman’s director, Jan Gupta, explained that because of her age, Ms. Alexander has special needs and so the assistance she gets from Cayman’s Needs Assessment Unit is not really enough in itself, so Resilience stepped up to pay 650 dollars of her 950-dollar bill, with C.U.C providing 300 dollars-worth of gift certificates to pay the remainder, to get her home reconnected.

But that isn’t the only problem. Ms Alexander has never been connected with running water, and so all of her water has to come from an old well in the backyard. So Resilience Cayman is stepping in again, this time to help get Ms. Alexander connected up to the water supply.

Ms Gupta expressed her concerns in anticipation of the expected increase in electricity bills later this year, and wonders how not only Ms Alexander, but many others like her, will manage. “For an individual who is elderly, and already struggling to keep the lights on, it is going to be very difficult in the face of inflation,” she said.

It’s just one example of what this non-profit organization does to help people who are struggling to make ends meet in Cayman. Resilience Cayman was started in 2020, right after Covid began to make an impact on the lives of people who lost their jobs or had their hours cut as a result of covid-19. Since those days, it has often joined with other organizations and reached out to hundreds of local families and individuals for help with food, or utilities, or similar items to help them survive. Just over a year ago, Resilience received a grant of 1.5 Million grant to begin a new housing repair programme with help from the R3 group, as well as the Cayman Islands Government, and have since helped many families all over the island make vital repairs to their homes.

Resilience Cayman also have a food-voucher program which has been the lifeline of many families whose costs have exceeded their incomes, something that seems to be an increasing problem in the Cayman Islands especially since covid began. But it is not all quick-fix solutions, and Resilience Cayman believes in putting down deep local roots and cultivating relationships. With a vision for Cayman’s food security, the organization has been helping to support local farmers, by helping provide outlets for local produce markets. Their programs aim to expand knowledge and make exposure to practical opportunities available, and so they are also helping local companies connect with qualified individuals to make valuable internship programs possible, breaking the cycle of ‘no job because of no experience.’ Resilience Cayman helps 105 year old pay her bills.


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