KINGSTON — Minister of Housing, Environment, Water and Local Government, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, is encouraging more private developers to partner with the Government to provide affordable housing for Jamaicans.
He said approximately 15,000 houses would have to be built annually to satisfy housing needs, and the Government could not, by itself, meet that demand.
“The Government itself will never have enough capital to build any one time, in any one year, the 15,000 units we need to provide an adequate number of houses for Jamaicans. We are not going to have the fiscal space…we therefore have to bring in the private sector,” the Minister stated.
He was speaking on Thursday (December 1) at the ground breaking ceremony for the Porto Bello 2 housing development in Green Pond, St. James, which is being implemented through partnership between the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) and Seal Investment Company Limited.
Minister Chang said the Government is in discussion with other private developers to look at various blocks of land across the island, to implement joint venture projects such as the Porto Bello 2 development.
He said the greatest need for affordable housing solutions is among the 60 to 70 per cent of National Housing Trust (NHT) contributors, and school leavers, who are young in the working world and cannot afford the down payment for a house.
Managing Director of the HAJ, Joseph Shoucair, in his address at the ground breaking ceremony, informed that several housing projects were at various stages of development in St. James.
He informed that by the end of 2012, HAJ expects to have approximately 2,000 new houses constructed in that parish.
He noted also that the agency is spending some $500 million to improve informal settlements within the Montego Bay area. “We are upgrading informal settlements, we are providing low cost housing and we are providing employment,” Mr. Shoucair stated.
Under Porto Bello 2, some 324 housing solutions will be constructed with associated amenities, primarily for employees in the tourism sector.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter