JIS News

The Government, through the Inner City Housing Project (ICHP), is seeking to bring some order to the housing situation in Southside and Tel Aviv in Parade Gardens.
The challenge, though, according to Maurice Anderson, Director of the Inner City Housing Project, is that the area is congested and the project officers are having a hard time finding “significant open spaces” with which to work.
“We are having tremendous difficulty in that area, partly because there are a lot of people living in that area. There are also a lot of businesses and historical buildings that we need to preserve in that area and the National Housing Trust (NHT) just doesn’t have the locations available for us to go in right now and do the intervention,” Mr. Anderson said at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’.
“We are looking at a number of solutions to that area. Our general solution is what we call a four-storey walk-up. It’s a four-storey apartment block, which accommodates 24 apartments. That’s a huge apartment block of about 200 feet long, and therefore it would take up a significant area on a city block. So, if we don’t have 200 feet, we just can’t put in an apartment,” he added.
The mandate of the Inner City Housing Project (ICHP), which was started in 2000, is to construct 5,000 units in and around the Business Improvement District. The project is part of an urban renewal project to deal with the repair, refurbishment and upgrade of downtown Kingston.
Areas to be rehabilitated include Hannah Town, Denham Town, Matthews Lane, Majestic Gardens, Tivoli Gardens, Parade Gardens, White Wing, Swallowfield, Trench Town and Monaltrie.
One of the first requirements for the project was to ascertain exactly the extent of intervention needed. In order to determine this, the ICHP visited the areas, and with the assistance of the Social Development Commission (SDC) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), conducted surveys.
“These surveys tell us a number of things. They tell us the number of families or number of households in the community, general income levels of the households, how many children are in the area, and the number of people in a family,” Mr. Anderson said.
In the Southside and Tel Aviv area, 1,500 households were identified as “requiring intervention”, he said. Based on the data collected, the ICHP has determined that a family that comprises four persons or less, is eligible for the two-bedroom units or apartments, and a family of five persons or more is eligible for a three-bedroom unit or apartment.
“If there are 10 people in the family, then we have a problem, but that solution is better than what obtains now, because what exists is often probably one room, nothing else but that room and the 10 people in the room. So, we will now be putting 10 people into three bedrooms. They will also have a bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, and they will have a living and dining room,” he disclosed.