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JIS News

As the Ministry of Water and Housing makes long term plans to commence a comprehensive programme of shelter starts in Jamaica, some residents of Olympic Way in Olympic Gardens, in Kingston, have benefitted from the construction of 16 units in their community.
The Ministry is also in the process of developing 60 townhouses in Stadium Gardens, in the Corporate Area, and is making plans to construct houses in the Molynes Road and Vineyard Town areas.
“We have done a couple of samples. We have 16 units which are part of an urban renewal programme in Olympic Way. This is a way to look at the possibilities we have for these deep inner city areas that have serious housing problems,” Dr. Chang told JIS News.
He said that there is a shortage of Government land in the Corporate Area and the National Housing Trust (NHT) has been given a mandate to acquire some properties, in an attempt to once again bring quality housing to the urban areas. These properties, the Minister said, would be acquired in Vineyard Town and some areas of Molynes Road in Kingston, where urban decay is currently taking place. Units will then be constructed to help provide much needed houses in the Corporate Area and to address the urban decay in the surrounding areas.
“We are also doing something at Albion in St. James and will be looking at expanding such programmes, as funding allows. We are trying to rebuild capacity and the ability of our Technical Services team to deliver this type of housing solution,” Dr. Chang said.
The Minister said there now exists, within the Ministry, a group of technically competent persons to fast track its activities, and they are ready to work to improve Jamaica’s housing stock, working in conjunction with the NHT.
He added that some improvements were done in the 1970s and 1980s under the Local Improvement Communities Amendments Act (LICA). This type of work has to be done again, he said, in conjunction with the planning agencies, as the Government fulfills the mandate given by Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
Dr. Chang said it is very challenging when workers in middle management can only get housing in nearby parishes, and while this is what they can afford, commuting costs are very high. Urban renewal, he said, would help to address this.

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