JIS News

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, has proposed the setting up of a $50 million Indigent Housing Fund.
Making his contribution in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 24, Mr. Montague said that indigent housing was a vexed issue, not social housing, which is allocated $2 million yearly, through each Member of Parliament.
“While this is also well needed, the indigent need it more,” the State Minister emphasised.
He called on fellow Members of Parliament to join in the worthy cause towards alleviating the plight of the homeless by putting $250,000 each into the Fund to be administered by the Department of Local Government.
“If each MP agrees and signs the pledge forms that will be sent through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), the Department would have received a total of $15 million,” he pointed out.
Mr. Montague said that the Department of Local Government would match the $15 million collected and informed that the balance of $20 million would be attained from various avenues.
These include: asking all the churches in Jamaica to have a special collection on Saturday, July 12, 2008 and Sunday July 13, 2008; calling on all Jamaicans to give something; asking all National Housing Trust (NHT) contributors who have not collected their returns to sign over to the Fund at least 50 per cent of the uncollected contribution.
On another matter, the State Minister said that the proposed introduction of the National Assistance Bill would make provision to repeal and replace the Poor Relief Act.
“We are currently in discussions with the relevant stakeholders regarding the above; the outcome of which will be communicated to the House by the Prime Minister,” Mr. Montague said.

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