KINGSTON — Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with Responsibility for Local Government Reform, Hon Robert Montague, has stressed the importance of providing housing solutions for indigents in a more wholesome manner.
“For example, there are thousands who will never receive their contributions back from the NHT (National Housing Trust), because some have transitioned into another world, or some who don’t even remember to apply for it – therefore we have these large pool of funds that can be utilised,” he suggested.
Mr. Montague was participating in the debate on a private member’s motion by Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Rev. Ronald Thwaites, that called for a more comprehensive housing policy.
He informed that according the Board of Supervision’s survey, Parish Councils estimate, based on the number of indigent paupers, it will take some $60 million to solve the housing problem for this group.
Mr. Montague added that there is also need to examine the feasibility of infilling within urban centres, where derelict buildings exist, rather than building new schemes from scratch.
The State Minister also highlighted the usefulness of innovation in providing housing solutions, such as the exchange of land for the provision of the construction of infrastructure, as had been the case for a brownfield development in his constituency.
Meanwhile, he argued that delinquent mortgagers and entities who do not pay over NHT deductions, were adversely affecting the available pool of housing solutions.
The debate will be concluded at the next sitting of the House of Representatives.
By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter