hurricane maria response 2018

U.S. Virgin Islands STEP Emergency Home Repair Program


In September 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in the Virgin Islands just 14 days behind Hurricane Irma. The  Category 5 storm devastated the islands, severely impacting the densely populated St. Thomas and St. John.  Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed, with an even larger number of residents and citizens left without  viable shelters. In response, the USVI Department of Housing instituted the FEMA-funded STEP Emergency Home  Repair Program.

SLS was selected as a prime contractor for the Program and tasked with the rapid execution of the STEP initiative,  with the mission of providing basic repairs to damaged homes and allowing displaced residents to return as quickly  as possible. Working under program manager Witt O’Brien and utilizing over 100 personnel, SLS performed  demolition, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, roofing, flooring and carpentry work. SLS was also tasked with the  permanent reconstruction of 23 homes that could not be repaired through STEP methods.

Logistical challenges included shipping all major equipment, materials and supplies from Florida and the rapid  rehabilitation of homes to current building codes that were never originally code compliant, as well as retraining a  local workforce skilled in CMU construction to work under FEMA-mandated wood construction guidelines.

Project Specs:

Location: Texas (Various Locations)

Client: Texas General Land Office


Value: $150 Million

Units: 2100+ Homes