Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, says the Government has identified additional funding which will be used to maintain the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) over the medium term.
He made the announcement on Friday (February 15) during a media briefing at the Ministry’s offices in Kingston, where he provided an update on a number of projects being implemented under his portfolio.
Dr. Davies informed that funding for JEEP’s second phase, which is expected to provide employment for some 35,000 persons, amounts to approximately $6.29 billion. He assured that the administration was looking at ways to refine the initiative and make it more impactful, in terms of providing employment and delivering value for money. He pointed out that the employment projection targetting 5000 persons under Phase I was exceeded, with approximately 18,206 persons securing jobs.
On another matter, Dr. Davies informed that the Government expects to complete work to provide housing for persons who lost their dwellings during the passage of hurricane Sandy in October 2012, by the end of March.
To date, some 260 houses have been built in the parishes of Portland, St. Mary and St. Thomas, for persons adversely impacted. The Government is undertaking financing of this venture at a cost of approximately $500 million with funds which Dr. Davies informed, were reallocated from resources for the JEEP housing project.
The Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited (HAJ) will continue to manage the JEEP housing programme, which entails the construction of 1,200 two-bedroom wooden houses per annum. These are to be built by Food For the Poor (FFP) with financing from the PetroCaribe Fund, as well as FFP.
Dr. Davies disclosed that work to construct 62 concrete houses in Hampden, Trelawny, for persons earning less than $7,500 per week, has also begun. Some 600 units are earmarked for development under this endeavour.