JIS News

Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, has said that the Government was looking to forge partnerships with the private sector this year, in a bid to provide more affordable housing solutions for Jamaicans, especially those at the lower income level.
He was speaking in an interview with JIS News yesterday (Feb.11), during a tour of the Portmore Country Club housing development in St. Catherine.
The Minister said that despite the economic downturn, there was still an unsatisfied demand in this segment of the housing market, and the Government was working to address the shortcoming.
“In fact, we anticipate this year, when the (housing) programme is ready to go in March, we will be talking solutions as low as $1.5 million to the $8 million and $10 million ranges,” Dr. Chang stated.
He said that in carrying out the programme, the Ministry would have to identify resources through the National Housing Trust (NHT), the budget and other areas of Government.
The Jamaican Government has been pursuing joint venture arrangements with private developers as a means of delivering houses of better quality and more efficiently. Dr. Chang explained that under the arrangement, the property is owned by the developer and “we work with them to speed up and deliver the solutions. We use public lands, which becomes equity in the development.”
Dr. Chang said that the Portmore Country Club, which comprises 274 mixed housing units, was a good project that could be replicated across the island, through private sector partnership.
The project was developed by West Indies Home Contractors (WHICON), one of the largest private home developers in the island.
“It’s a gated community and the value keeps increasing. It’s therefore a nice community for our middle-income working population but they (WHICON) also have solutions at different levels, so we’re looking at what they can provide as we prepare for our housing programme this year,” the Housing Minister told JIS News.

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