Minister without Portfolio, with responsibility for Water, Works and Housing, Dr Horace Chang says the housing sector must be governed by meaningful regulations and actions, which will ensure the safety and security of Jamaicans.
Dr Chang made the comments ahead of the Regional Housing Conference to be hosted by The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC).
The inaugural Housing Conference themed Providing Safe, Legal and Affordable Housing for All: From Policy to Implementation will be held October 18-20 at the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites Hotel, Montego Bay.
“The conference comes at an opportune time given the need to ensure that our houses are built with the best quality materials, which are environmentally friendly, structurally sound and climate resilient,” stated Minister Chang.
He said these considerations are even more important considering recent devastating hurricanes which have impacted several islands in the Caribbean.
“This need is even more urgent in the face of climate change as our Construction Industry must adapt to the new realities, and must ensure that our buildings are robust and can withstand the more intense impacts of climate change, with its extreme weather events,” he explained.
Overwhelming Support for Inaugural Conference
In the meantime, Chief Technical Director at the MEGJC with responsibility for Water, Works and Housing, Doreen Prendergast said the Regional Housing Conference has received overwhelming local and international support.
She indicated that representatives from St. Lucia, Barbados, Guyana, World Bank, IDB, Cities Alliance, Habitat for Humanity and a representative from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are slated to attend and in some instances make presentations.
“There is a great need for this type of forum because of the challenges within the housing sector. Challenges pertaining to governance, security of tenure, and housing need and demand that are not being satisfied,” explained Mrs Prendergast.
The inaugural housing conference will expose some of the issues and where possible bring solutions to the housing market. It will also identify best practices that can be used to improve service delivery and that innovative approaches housing
Areas to be discussed at the conference are Housing Cost and Financing; Building Technology within a changing Environment; Housing and Land Tenure; and Housing Sector Management.
In the meantime, the Ministry has received 26 abstracts for the inaugural conference. The abstracts are aimed at giving an avenue for academia to help chart the policy and planning of the sector with the best solutions available.