A home is a place that shelters, protects and nurtures its occupants. The ability to secure shelter for oneself is a necessity of life. However, for many Jamaicans, the cost to rent or purchase housing is difficult to afford, leaving them struggling to find housing or living in sub-standard conditions.
The solution to this problem is affordable housing. This enhances persons’ sense of safety and security, which helps to improve their quality of life. It is with this in mind that the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) implemented the New Social Housing Programme (NSHP).
Established in 2018, the NSHP is administered by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), as the housing component of the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme.
The NSHP was developed to improve the housing condition of the country’s poor and disadvantaged population by providing high-quality and sustainable housing free of charge. The programme has three components, namely:
- The provision of indigent housing – Twenty-eight units are currently under construction, and this is being carried out through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD). To benefit from this provision, persons are encouraged to visit the Poor Relief Department of their parish’s Municipal Corporation and complete the indigent housing application form. Eligibility is determined by the department following an assessment of the applicant’s living conditions.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Audrey Sewell speaks about the Indigent Housing modality of the HOPE Programme
- Relocation of vulnerable communities – The GOJ has deemed it necessary to relocate residents from unplanned communities that often leave them at risk of flooding and other catastrophic events caused by natural disasters. These projects are carried out on a need basis, determined by the GOJ following assessments of such communities.
- The upgrading of tenements – One such project will be undertaken per constituency. Structures will be improved, and others demolished and rebuilt, for the residents. The need for these upgrades is determined by the constituency’s Member of Parliament. The project will be carried out on an ongoing basis. One upgrade has so far been completed, with seven more scheduled. These are to be carried out between 2021 and 2022.
Additionally, each constituency will undertake a project geared towards effecting repairs to homes damaged by tropical storms. Each constituency has been granted $1.5 million for this endeavour. Affected persons may apply for assistance through their local constituency office.
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