Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says addressing the housing needs of thousands of Jamaicans living in poverty, will be one of the key areas of focus under Phase II of the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).
Speaking on June 5, during her presentation in the 2012/13 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, Mrs. Simpson Miller said the Government will collaborate with Food for the Poor in providing 1,200 housing units throughout Jamaica, each year, for the next five years.
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Additionally, she informed that Food for the Poor and the Ministry of Housing and the National Housing Trust will collaborate in providing a starter unit for contributors earning between $5,000 to $7,000 weekly.
Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that the beneficiaries will be identified through the National Housing Trust, adding that the lands for these housing units will be identified either from the beneficiaries themselves or government owned lands.
“We are combining State resources with private investment to achieve economic growth to improve living conditions and to train and employ workers,” she said.
The Prime Minister said that under Phase II of JEEP, there will be projects from the Ministry of Agriculture, HEART Trust/NTA, the National Works Agency, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Ministry of Housing and the National Housing Trust (NHT).
She said the total amount which will be spent during this fiscal year will be just over $6 billion, and informed that financing has been identified and secured.
“Regardless of the criticisms which have been leveled at the programme, it is interesting that every single Member of Parliament has reacted positively to the opportunity to provide employment and carry out productive activities in her/his constituency. We expect that this involvement will continue in Phase II of the programme,” she said.
The Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme has already provided more than 5,800 jobs across several sectors.
The JEEP was launched by the Prime Minister on March 22, in Kingston. It is one of the strategies of the Government to respond to the chronic unemployment status of some Jamaicans, particularly those in the lower socio-economic strata, persons with special needs as well as those with low skills levels.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter