Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 07, 2017 (SKNIS): The broad impacts of the Government’s housing strategy were highlighted by Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, during a recent Town Hall Meeting held at the Edgar T. Morris Primary School.
To date, over 100 persons have received homes under the Unity Housing Solutions Programme. The highly anticipated launch was held on Friday, February 17, 2017 under the theme Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity. Under this programme, the National Housing Corporation (NHC) is supervising the construction of roughly 300 affordable homes throughout St. Kitts for the benefit of people with small to modest incomes. These homes have bigger bedrooms and bathrooms than previous NHC models.
“We are about to deliver 250 homes under our Team Unity Housing Solutions. Already, we have given out 100 and shortly, by Tuesday [November 07] in Cayon, we will be making distributions of more homes,” said Prime Minister Harris, adding that this initiative will be done island-wide. “And while we are doing these things, under the Government’s first mortgage programme, we have made assistance duty-free to over 200-plus persons. Within the short period of time then over 1,000 people would have benefited from the Team Unity Housing Solutions,” Dr. Harris added.
Prime Minister Harris noted that since his Government is making affordable housing available to residents, the decision was made to lower the interest rate on the National Housing Corporation (NHC) homes built before the Government took office, in order to bring relief to people. There is now a fairer income-based repayment plan, with persons who earn under $3,500.00 per month paying a 2 percent interest rate, persons who earn between $3,500.00 and $5,000.00 per month paying a 3 percent interest rate, and persons who earn over $5,000.00 per month paying a 5 percent interest rate on a maximum 30-year mortgage.
In addition to making houses more affordable, the Prime Minister said that his Government is committed to ensuring that jobs are also created.
For instance, local contractors are benefiting from the Government’s HELP Programme, which undertakes home improvement projects for persons with lower income earnings. It is implemented by the NHC, which gives EC$10,000 grants to eligible persons who apply to the programme. To date, over 600 persons have so far been assisted under the HELP Programme.
At Sunday’s town hall meeting, Prime Minister Harris said that the Government will allocate more funds for the HELP Programme.
“We are going to continue to do the things that you put us here to do. We are helping people and we are doing things right,” said Dr. Harris.