Special Housing Programme Gets Under Way Thousands to Benefit


The Government through a Special Housing Programme will be constructing some 1,000 housing units and carrying out repairs to 10,000 housing structures across 60 constituencies in the island.
Minister of Water and Housing, Donald Buchanan made the announcement on Tuesday (Feb. 3) in the House of Representatives.
He said that the programme would be implemented in two phases, with phase one set to commence immediately. Under the first component the Minister said that $60 million would be allocated to Members of Parliament ($1 million each) to provide assistance in effecting minor repairs to existing dwelling units.
For persons to benefit, Mr. Buchanan said that MPs would be required to submit the names of individuals recommended for assistance, selected in accordance with established eligibility.
The second phase of the programme, he said, involved the provision of housing units to needy persons. He informed that individuals could be recommended to the programme administrators by their MPs, community organizations or churches, which would be based on a clear selection criteria.
Applicants will be required to complete an application form, to be submitted with evidence of ownership or access to land. The administrators would be required to verify the status of the applicant then submit the application to Food For the Poor for further verification and approval.
The Ministry of Water and Housing which has overall responsibility for the project will procure the services of local contractors to build foundation in conformity with the specifications established by Food For the Poor.
Minister Buchanan said that once the foundations were ready, Food For the Poor would erect the houses within four to six weeks.
Genefa Hibbert, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water and Housing will be the Accountable Officer for the programme. Members of Parliament and other relevant bodies are asked to contact her.
Prime Minister P.J. Patterson in his budget presentation, last year, announced that the Special Housing Programme would come on stream in 2004. The programme is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Water and Housing, the National Housing Trust (NHT) and Food For the Poor.

JIS Social