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JIS News

The National Housing Policy produced for the Ministry of Water and Housing by a consortium from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Technology (UTech), recommends a national emergency housing programme as one aspect of creating and maintaining shelter for all Jamaicans.
This policy supports the need for precautionary and mitigation measures to help persons to keep the shelter they now have, and also seeks to ensure that there is the provision of adequate emergency housing to persons who are made homeless, following disasters such as fires, floods and hurricanes.
The policy also makes a recommendation that the local authorities, such as parish councils, should be so provisioned that they are able to respond quickly to the needs in their parishes or immediate locations.
And, in an effort to make more housing stock available in places already occupied by people, government intends to provide tax relief for rehabilitation in targeted neighbourhoods and promote partnerships between public agencies and community organisations to achieve rehabilitation objectives.
“We will be promoting special programmes for repairs and renewal of residential spaces,” Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang told JIS News.
The Minister said that the policy contains recommendations, which will serve to significantly reduce squatting by 2030. These recommendations include, but are not limited to, accelerating the squatter regularisation programme and streamlining the land titling process to make it easier for people to get land titles.
Dr. Chang said the Ministry intends to seek low-interest international loans and/or grants to on-lend to beneficiaries, consistent with the ability to repay or to provide subsidies as necessary.
“In addition, we intend to aggressively monitor both government and private lands to prevent further squatting,” Dr. Chang said.
The Minister said the government plans to establish and rigorously enforce laws to address squatting, develop a squatter management policy and restructure and strengthen the capacity of the Squatter Management Unit to work effectively, in collaboration with Local Government. Parish councils will also be empowered to monitor and regulate squatting, he added.