JIS News

In the last financial year, the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change assisted 183 families with more than $60 million, in an effort to alleviate housing vulnerability in Jamaica.

The Ministry, through its Social Housing Programme, seeks, as best as possible, to assist persons through the provision of grants to repair existing structures and, in special cases, completely rebuild homes that are destroyed or are in such a dilapidated condition as to render the occupants functionally homeless.

Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., gave this update during his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 4.

“As a country, we must take this seriously and understand that the investment in fixing that problem, will be an investment in developing our country in multiple ways,” he said.

“It’s not just a housing issue. Fixing the issue of squatting and informal and unplanned communities will assist in national security, in health, in every sector… It is all connected,” the Minister added.

Despite the Government’s policy measures to boost housing supply, improve affordability and regularise communities, there are still some persons who are not able in their lifetime to afford mortgage financing.

The indigent, homeless and other vulnerable groups often depend on the kindness of others for their daily survival. In some cases, their shelter is simply refashioned from scrap material, old sheets of zinc, and pieces of board or cardboard boxes.

Mr. Charles Jr. said it will take a significant investment and a phased approach for the Government to adequately solve the shelter needs of the most vulnerable in Jamaica.

“That’s why we intend to call on the Minister of Finance [and the Public Service] to structure additional support to advance our efforts and, where possible, through the Climate Change Division, we will identify funding for the programme as a mechanism for building climate resilience,” he argued.

“In our informal settlements, where we have residents blocked off from social services and policing, these are the same spaces, same residents that are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, the flooding, the droughts – all in these areas where we have unplanned communities,” the Minister added.

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