The Government, after assuming office on January 5, handed over more titles to Jamaicans for their houses, with the presentation of titles to 12 Trench Town residents, in Kingston, by the National Housing Trust (NHT), in February.
The titles were presented by Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Omar Davies and Managing Director, NHT, Cecile Watson, during a handing over ceremony at the Trench Town Community Centre.
This was another important milestone in the ongoing project to regularise occupancy of units originally handed over in 1976 to NHT mortgagors, but who later abandoned them.
In May 2002, the Trust offered occupants first preference to buy the units at market price. By November 2007, the portfolio was reduced to 73 accounts, which valued $4 million in loans and interest. The portfolio was further reduced to 56 accounts in September 2009, with a value of approximately $2. 7 million in loan and interest.
Trench Town Housing Scheme is one of five communities in which the Trust is undertaking the regularisation exercise. The other schemes are: Denham Town, Beverly Gardens, Central Kingston and Tawes Pen.
New homeowner, Paul Winter, who has been residing in the community for some 40 years, says the initiative ensures that low income earners can take advantage of the various opportunities offered by the NHT. “Everybody needs a home. I have one now, and I am very proud,” he tells JIS News.
Mr. Winter used the opportunity to encourage the residents, who have outstanding loans, to take advantage of the initiative while it is ongoing.
“I’m saying to all my community members, who have not (finished paying their loans) that they should do it, because it is a great opportunity and it is very good for all of us,” he said.
Audrey Jacobs, another homeowner, says that having lived in the community for many years, she feels privileged to finally acquire her own home.
She notes that this acquisition will boost her economic standing as it can be used as collateral for various transactions.
In expressing thanks on behalf of her fellow homeowners, Lorraine Williams says “it’s a good pleasure to all homeowners to receive their title. I am sure it makes each of us feel responsible and proud."