Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government has made good on the promise to reform the housing agencies, with many Jamaicans now having an easier path to home ownership.
Mr. Holness, who was giving the main address at the handing over ceremony of a one bedroom unit to a physically challenged man in Bogue District, St. Elizabeth, on July 17, said the current reality is such where the “young, elderly, poor, indigent” and those who previously would not have been able to afford a home, do have the opportunities now to realise their dream.
“This Government was elected on a platform that we would reform the housing agencies so that they would be expanded to where persons would have a chance at owning their own homes,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
“There is no one in Jamaica that can honestly say that this Government has not substantially delivered on this commitment. Indeed we have delivered and…yes…we have done more,” he added.
Mr. Holness said that Members of Parliament (MPs), by virtue of their “closeness” to their constituents, have a critical role to play in identifying qualified beneficiaries under the Government’s social initiative – the New Social Housing Programme (NSHP).
“In November 2018, I made the announcement that the Government of Jamaica would be implementing a social housing initiative under the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment Programme (HOPE). The Programme was developed to improve the housing condition of the country’s poor and indigent population,” the Prime Minister explained.
“It is the MPs and the Councillors who are called upon to go the last mile…make the connection and who would truly have a deeper understanding of the challenges that the people of the area face. It is important that we get them involved, as although they are sometimes criticised, and brutally so, the truth is that they can make very good selection decisions,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Holness said the choice by Member of Parliament for St. Elizabeth North East, Evon Redman, to select Mr. Winston Wint, an 88 year-old disabled man who has an amputated leg and has lost sight in one eye, as a beneficiary of a one bedroom housing unit, is further testament of the role the MPs play in identifying and selecting those who are mostly in need.
“I believe that the decision made by MP Redwood to select our beneficiary today, Mr. Wint, was a good decision. There is no question whatsoever about Mr. Wint deserving this benefit,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Holness pointed out that the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation has oversight for the NHSP, which is administered under the Housing Portfolio of the Ministry by the NHSP Secretariat.
“To date, the NHSP has received 312 applications (301 for Indigent Housing Units and 11 for Tenement Upgrade,” the Prime Minister noted.
“These applications are at a various stage of the processing and implementation flow, with 214 approved by the Project Committee and 141 tenders uploaded to the Government of Jamaica online procurement platform (e-procurement),” he added.