JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister Simpson Miller on March 27 handed out 66 keys to the first set of completed houses under the First Step Homes programme, in Hampden Heights, Trelawny.
  • The houses were constructed through the collaborative efforts of the National Housing Trust (NHT) and Food for the Poor.
  • To date, approximately $204 million has been spent on the project, which aims to deliver 600 solutions each year.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, on March 27 handed out 66 keys to the first set of completed houses under the First Step Homes programme, in Hampden Heights, Trelawny.

The houses, which were constructed through the collaborative efforts of the National Housing Trust (NHT) and Food for the Poor, were handed out to the new home owners at an official ceremony held at the Hampden Heights location near Bounty Hall, Trelawny.

This set of completed First Step Homes form part of the Government-initiated programme to facilitate the building of 3,000 new housing solutions for low income earners, over a five year period.

To date, approximately $204 million has been spent on the project, which aims to deliver 600 solutions each year.

Delivering the keynote address, Prime Minister Simpson Miller, while congratulating the recipients of keys to their new homes, said one of the government’s primary goals is to continue pursuing ways of providing affordable homes for middle, and lower income earners.

“This housing project and today’s ceremony is one way of recognising the workers who have been the backbone of economic production in our country over these many years.  Your contributions to the National Housing Trust, played a significant role in making this project a reality,” the Prime Minister pointed out.

She observed that Hampden Heights represents an innovative model in housing solutions for these special categories of workers.

“In the first instance, this provides housing opportunities for workers in the sugar (agriculture) and tourism industries.  I think that the best thing that could happen to any Jamaican is to hold up your title or keys to your home and say that you are a proud Jamaican and own a piece of this rock called Jamaica,” the Prime Minister asserted.

She further pointed out that because of the specific need for housing for workers in the tourism sector, a special benefit order was instituted to ensure that 50 per cent of these solutions are reserved for tourism workers, the other half for sugar workers.

The Prime Minister noted that the Sugar Workers Housing Programme and the Jamaica Tourist Board continue to be strong facilitators of this project.

She added also that the NHT has been mandated to address middle level housing needs, as well as solutions for uniformed groups.

She implored the new First Step homeowners to bond and transform their houses into “peaceful and loving homes, making them special for their families and especially for their children”.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Northern Trelawny and Attorney General, Hon. Patrick Atkinson expressed his appreciation to Prime Minister Simpson Miller for “touching the lives of those lower income earners”.

Minister with Responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, reiterated that the government is on a mission to build sustainable communities across the country, “giving all Jamaicans equal opportunities to not only own a house, (but also to) contribute to the development of the country as a whole”.