The United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-HABITAT) shows that as of May 2020, 1.8 billion people are living in a state of homelessness or inadequate shelter globally.
In Jamaica, there are approximately 14,000 people registered as poor. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has implemented the Indigent Housing Programme to provide housing solutions for the poor. This initiative offers housing solutions to the registered poor and is spearheaded by each municipality’s Poor Relief Department.
Over the last year, 32 houses have been built and the Government plans to construct 12 more by the end of the financial year (March 2021). The long-term projection is to provide 100 housing solutions to persons in need across the island. To date, houses have been constructed in Kingston, St Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon, Trelawny, Manchester, St. Elizabeth, St. Ann and parts of St. Thomas. The Government has also issued $20 million dollars to be shared across each municipality for Poor Relief Officers to carry out repairs to houses that are occupied by the registered poor.
How to Apply for Housing
• Visit your local Poor Relief Department and complete the application form
• The Poor Relief Department will conduct an investigation to ascertain living conditions
• Technical assessments of the proposed locations will be done
Where to Find a Poor Relief Department
A Poor Relief Department is located within each municipality. Visit the link below for contact information:
Land Ownership and Payment of Taxes
The applicant is responsible for finding the land on which the house will be built and for paying property taxes. The applicant should be able to prove ownership of the land or that permission was given to build on the land provided.
Size and Layout of Houses
The houses are 250 square-foot units outfitted with a furnished bedroom, bathroom, living and kitchen area. Each house also has a water storage tank.
Utilities and Home Repairs
The Poor Relief Department has mechanisms to support the recipients of indigent houses. However, the main responsibility for payment of utilities and home repairs lies with the home owners.
The Poor Relief Department assesses applications on a case by case basis. However, the following are the main factors considered by the Department.
• Environment – The individual’s current living conditions; whether they are substandard.
• Health Status – The individual’s physical and emotional challenges, which may affect his or her
economic status and ability to own a home.
For further information, contact
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development
61 Hagley Park Road,
Tel: (876) 618-7360-9