UNITY HOUSING SOLUTIONS PROGRAMME TO FOCUS ON POOR AND INDIGENT

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 21, 2017 (SKNIS): The Team Unity Administration’s Housing Solutions Programme, which was launched on February 17, is geared towards the poor and indigent, according to Minister of Human Settlement with responsibility for Housing, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton.

Speaking in Parliament on the second anniversary of the Government of National Unity on February 16, Minister Hamilton said that 300 homes will be built in the first phase.

“When we came to office, we promised housing solutions satisfying a broad cross-section of the state, all sectors of the state, but we promised that from the government through NHC (National Housing Corporation) we would be looking at housing for the indigent and the poor,” said Minister Hamilton.

He said that although the priority of the housing programme is with the poor and indigent, the government will also cater for those in the middle income bracket.

“We have facilitated over the last few months the request of private sector partners. I have indeed signed off on an application to get the support of the Ministry of Sustainable Development for the construction of middle-income homes in whatever selected areas where the investor would like to make his investment, and so that the middle income earner will have an opportunity from investments from individuals across the country to obtain middle income homes in developed or highly developed areas, but Mr. Speaker, the poor and the indigent rely on the government, the programme administered by the government that provides an opportunity for them to at least have a shelter, a roof over their heads,” Minister Hamilton said.

“Over the past months, Mr. Speaker, while the government was engaging in so many activities promoting economic development in the country…we were working on how we will put a programme in place to satisfy the needs, the many requests of the poor and indigent,” he added.

The government was able to procure a 50 million dollar loan from the Social Security Board to be able to carry out the programme, Minister Hamilton disclosed.

Twenty-one areas around the country have been identified for building. “We will embark on the construction of houses in various areas. We are not focusing on any constituencies in this programme because we would be looking at the broad area of St. Kitts, looking at the parishes, the way people are moving and the way the population is growing,” he said.

The minister responsible for housing said that in the lead up to the launch of the Unity Housing Solutions Programme, one of the things that had to be done was to identify some 28 areas in the country where the government will be directly providing funding to be able to put in, for example, water, electricity and ultimately roads.

He said that after that has been done, people who “may have been waiting all these years for the infrastructure to be put in so that they can go and borrow, they will have an opportunity because in 2017, spoken by the minister of public infrastructure before me, the roll-out of the infrastructure will be in several areas.”

“We are encouraging persons to go to the financial institutions, borrow and to get your home constructed. The NHC cannot and will not build for every single person in this country. We encourage the private sector; we encourage individuals to go, raise the capital and to construct their homes. We will, however, from this 50 million dollars construct a minimum of 300 homes based on the decision we will make in terms of the number of rooms,” said Minister Hamilton.

Minister Hamilton reiterated that the 300 homes that will be built are for the poor and indigent.

“We are focusing on the poor and the indigent. That is our mandate under the National Housing Corporation Act and the government will ensure that we keep a focus on those who really are in need so that people will feel at the end of it that the distribution and the allocations are fair, that the persons who receive are deserving and that there are no political interventions in the distribution of homes to persons who need,” Minister Hamilton said.

Some of the areas where homes will be built are Taylors East, Farms Meadows, Cabbage Tree, Wingfield View and Farms Development.

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