- The National Housing Trust (NHT) rolls out its first-ever mobile service.
- Dubbed, ‘NHT on Wheels’ or Mobile NHT, the initiative aims to increase the visibility of the Trust in rural areas.
- Mobile NHT is a bus equipped with various tools, including computers, pamphlets and facilities for accepting electronic payments.
Thousands of Jamaicans living in the country’s most rural parishes will be given the opportunity to own their own homes, as the National Housing Trust (NHT) rolls out its first-ever mobile service.
Dubbed, ‘NHT on Wheels’ or Mobile NHT, the initiative aims to increase the visibility of the Trust in rural areas, and to make home ownership a reality for ordinary Jamaicans.
Mobile NHT is a bus equipped with various tools, including computers, pamphlets and facilities for accepting electronic payments. Under the initiative, NHT personnel will visit various communities to provide information and services to targeted audiences.
The initial target areas for the service will be the rural sections of the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester, Trelawny, and St. Elizabeth. These parishes are considered to have the lowest proportion of NHT contributors, islandwide.
Speaking at a special launch ceremony held at the Mile Gully Community Centre in Manchester on Wednesday, April 16, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, said the programme will ensure that all Jamaicans are afforded the opportunity to benefit from the wide range of products that are offered by the Trust.
“While the NHT has a valuable presence in every parish through its branch offices, this mobile initiative will extend its presence to persons who are not able to visit an office, but would certainly appreciate having an office and personnel coming to their door steps,” she stated.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said it is her administration’s intention to make the services of Government available and accessible to every Jamaican citizen, irrespective of where they live.
“We value our rural communities and recognise that we must take special measures to make rural life attractive in order to preserve the value that they bring to national life,” she remarked.
She further noted that it must be ensured that NHT’s services are adequately provided to “all the people it was established to serve – not just some, but all the people in need of this kind of service”.
Mrs. Simpson Miller lamented that since inception, small entrepreneurs, trades persons, artisans, farmers, and agricultural workers have been noticeably absent from the list of contributors to the NHT.
She further pointed out that there is also an obvious inadequacy of contributors from deep rural areas communities.
“Development must take place not only in our inner cities, but also in our rural and deep rural communities,” she stressed.
In light of this, the Prime Minister reiterated Government’s plans to boost development in rural Jamaica. She informed that this includes: boosting agricultural production through the implementation of the Agro Parks initiative; improving the condition of farm roads; and increasing access to affordable housing solutions.
Minister with responsibility for Housing, Dr. the Hon. Morais Guy said it is the NHT’s intention to travel the hills and valleys of Jamaica to reach out to those persons who have not had contact with the Trust.
“We believe that all Jamaicans are deserving of decent housing regardless of where they are from,” he stated.
Dr. Guy noted that the Government intends to provide increased access to proper housing to residents in rural communities.
He informed that through the HAJ, the Ministry is poised to bring 2,000 additional housing solutions to rural Jamaica within this fiscal year.
Chairman of the NHT, Easton Douglas, informed that a Manchester Development Order has been produced by the NHT, in an effort to advance planned housing and infrastructure development across the parish.
“This developmental order will ensure that district centres are created in our deep rural and rural communities equipped with schools, clinics, community centres, fire stations, book centres or a book mobile,” he stated.
Mr. Douglas said this form of development aims to stem the pattern of rural to urban migration, so that persons from rural towns are provided with an improved quality of life.
The NHT was established in 1976 to enhance the stock of housing in Jamaica, as well as to provide financial assistance to contributors desirous of building, buying, or repairing their homes.
Under the NHT Insurance Act, persons between the ages 18 and 65, earning minimum wages or above, are expected to contribute to the Trust.
A total of 420,000 Jamaicans currently contribute to the NHT.