JIS News

Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Portia Simpson Millerhas mandated the National Housing Trust (NHT) to identify a housing solution package for household helpers and minimum wage earners. She called on the NHT to find a way to provide housing for the poorest and most vulnerable in the society and in so doing, assist them to realize their dream of home ownership.
Mrs. Simpson Miller who was addressing the 30th anniversary long service awards ceremony of the NHT at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday, (Dec. 19) said that suitable and affordable housing should also be provided for young professionals to assure them that they do not have to work outside of Jamaica in order to afford to live in the communities they would like.
She said owning a home was not just a matter of consumption, but that it creates economic value which persons could use to build wealth that could be used as collateral. She said by providing access to housing, the NHT was not only helping to foster better values and attitudes, but that it was also raising the standard of living for poor people by enabling them to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.
Mrs. Simpson Miller paid tribute to the management and staff of the NHT, in particular the 238 honorees who were awarded for between 15 and 30 years of service to the Trust. She said their contribution has enabled the Trust to provide over 108,000 mortgages for an estimated 400,000 persons since its inception in 1976. She said a significant number of persons had also benefited from joint venture arrangements with private developers through the Interim Finance Programme.
During the past five years, private developers have borrowed approximately $3.6 Billion from the NHT to build over 5000 housing solutions in eleven schemes across the island. It is estimated that by March 2007, a further $1.03 Billion will be disbursed under the programme.
The Prime Minister stated that the NHT has a pivotal role to play in the lives of many Jamaicans and that it stands as a symbol of hope for thousands of persons. She highlighted many of the NHT’s achievements over the years with some of the more recent including the Sugar Workers Housing Programme and the Inner city Housing Programme.
She also pointed to the increase in housing benefit for open market loans that had moved from $240,000 in 1995 to $3 Million in 2006.
She said the NHT’s five-year housing plan calls for the construction of 29,000 housing units at a projected cost of $70 Billion, with developments planed for every parish.
The Prime Minister commended the NHT on its achievements noting that it was a model public sector organization working in the interest of its contributors.