- Sixty-seven-year-old Sylvena Swaby of Rocky Point in Clarendon is a happy and grateful woman today.
- The senior citizen is the proud owner of a two-bedroom housing unit provided under the Indigent Housing Project.
- She was among 30 Jamaicans in three parishes, who recently received keys to their own homes through the project, being undertaken by the Government of Jamaica and Food for the Poor.
Sixty-seven-year-old Sylvena Swaby of Rocky Point in Clarendon is a happy and grateful woman today.
The senior citizen is the proud owner of a two-bedroom housing unit provided under the Indigent Housing Project.
She was among 30 Jamaicans in three parishes, who recently received keys to their own homes through the project, being undertaken by the Government of Jamaica and Food for the Poor.
Ms. Swaby says before she received the keys to her home, she was living in deplorable conditions. However, thanks to the Indigent Housing Project, “that’s a thing of the past.”
“I used to live in a likkle house and when rain fall I (would get wet), and sometimes when the wind is blowing it’s as the top is going to come off,” she says.
Resident of New Green District in Manchester, Donna-Marie Ball, also a proud beneficiary of the programme, expresses her joy at finally receiving the keys to her own home.
“I am overwhelmed knowing that I had difficulty finding a place to live. Where mi used to live, is a good amount of us live together, and to know that the Lord has provided this for me, it’s like (a real blessing),” she says.
“I want to say thanks first of all to the Almighty God, thanks to my MP, Mr. Mikael Phillips…and all of who has put this through for me,” she adds.
The Indigent Housing Project benefits Jamaicans in all 63 constituencies across the island.
Already, some 1,827 two-bedroom units have been completed, 480 of which were constructed under the Hurricane Sandy Housing programme for persons in the eastern parishes of St. Thomas, Portland and St. Mary.
The cost of each two-bedroom unit is US$6,400, of which the Government provides 50 per cent through support from the PetroCaribe Development Fund.
Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Housing in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. Morais Guy, says the initiative has made a significant impact on the lives of many Jamaicans.
In addition to providing shelter for thousands of needy Jamaicans, Dr. Guy informs that the project is providing stable employment for a number of masons, carpenters, plumbers and unskilled labourers.
“We have created employment under this JEEP-administered project and, to date, over 5,000 persons have been employed in the construction process. We are still currently doing 1,200 units per year, and as recently as December 2014, we have 30 beneficiaries receiving keys to their houses in the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester and St. Thomas,” he notes.
Member of Parliament for North West Manchester, Mikael Phillips, says approximately 16 houses have been constructed in his constituency up to December 2014.
This, he says, has contributed to the progress of many families in his constituency.
“The project that was initiated by the Government of Jamaica and Food for the Poor is one that has really benefitted just regular Jamaicans, who are unable to find a roof over their head. It has really made a difference to the lives of these families in North West Manchester, up to December, we had about 16 of these houses constructed,” he informs.
JEEP was conceptualised to respond to the chronic unemployment status of some Jamaicans, particularly those in the lower socio-economic stratum, persons with special needs, those with low skill levels as well as those from underserved communities.