JIS News

Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, has lauded the Gore Consortium Report, which looks at the housing demand by hotel workers on the North Coast.
“It was some good work done by the investigators and does provide a good indication of where we ought to go on the North Coast, and certainly good database on which to start planning,” Dr. Chang told JIS News.
“There is more work to be done, but this is an excellent start and will help us to plan how to cauterize the continuing problem of squatting on the North Coast,” he added.
The Minister, who was speaking at his corporate offices at 25 Dominica Drive in New Kingston recently, said this work ties in with that being done by the Ministry of Housing. “Yes, this definitely enhances and supports the work we are doing here,” he stated.
A survey titled: ‘Housing Demand of Hotel Workers in Properties over 50 Rooms,’ was done with a sample of 1,200 workers drawn from 25 hotels. The properties were selected from the Negril Hotel Area, including parts of Hanover and Westmoreland; the Montego Bay Hotel Area including Eastern Hanover and Trelawny; and the Ocho Rios Hotel Area, including St. Ann and St. Mary. The findings were then extrapolated for the total population of more than 16,000 hotel workers, who fit the survey criteria.
The report comes against the background of uncontrolled squatting taking place on the North Coast and in other areas of Jamaica. Some of this is due to the number of workers, who come in to work in resort areas and others where economic development or activities are taking place.
Finding no formal affordable or available place to live within proximity of their workplaces, some resort to informal settlements, causing squatter communities to sprout up.
The report, which is one attempt to address this problem, looks at the effective demand, or the number of workers, who can purchase houses at different price ranges, using the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) interest rates on mortgages as the affordability markers.
It also looks at the number of additional workers, who would be able to own houses if the NHT raised its debt service ratio, the figure used to calculate whether a worker can afford to pay a mortgage and still fund other expenses, by five or even ten per cent.
The NHT’s current debt service ratio is 33 per cent of a worker’s income before taxation.
The Consortium, which commissioned the report, includes Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) and Gore Developments Ltd. ESL Management Solutions was commissioned to conduct the survey. Field work commenced in November 2007 and ended in March 2008.

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