The Government will be partnering with Food For the Poor (FFP), to provide nearly 2,000 housing solutions, under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, made the announcement during his 2012/13 Sectoral presentation in the House of Representatives, on July 10.
Dr. Guy said the Ministry will be working with Food for the Poor to provide 1,200 wooden units at a cost of $500 million and another 600 concrete units in the amount of US$9.18 million.
"It is anticipated that implementation of the projects will commence in mid-July 2012, once the approvals are in place,” he said.
The construction of the houses is part of a housing intervention project in the inner city and informal communities throughout Jamaica, previously announced by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, during her budget presentation in June.
Dr. Guy explained that the primary objective of these housing initiatives is to alleviate the poor living conditions of vulnerable households, such as the indigent. He noted too that the intervention will “bring about an improvement in the health, economic and social conditions of the beneficiaries, primarily by providing access to housing and secondarily by providing employment”.
He said that central to the undertaking will be the use of some unskilled labour from communities in which construction is taking place.
Dr. Guy said that the Government, through the Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited (HAJ), will be delivering approximately 2,100solutions to the market during the 2012/13 fiscal year.
The National Housing Trust (NHT) will also be delivering 1,755solutions, which include 918 at Longville (Phase 3), in Clarendon, which is at the practical completion stage; 259 at Perth (Phase 1); 101 at Hampden, Trelawny and226 at Hellshire (Phase 4).
Dr. Guy said the Ministry is seeking to collaborate with the National Housing Trust (NHT) on reinstituting the Small Contractors Programme, first introduced in the 1970s, and the Inner-City Housing Programme (ICHP). He said the Ministry along with the NHT will be looking at the registration requirements for small contractors, so as to formulate policy measures to enhance their ability to participate in the programme.
He announced too, that the Ministry is lookingto work with the NHT to complete those projects under the ICHP that had started, but had been halted. He cited the Majesty Gardens project as an example, noting that work has already restarted.
By Andrea Braham