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The Ministry of Water and Housing will be embarking on a series of public consultations on the revised first draft of the National Housing Policy in September.
There will be four public consultations on the draft, two in Montego Bay, St. James and two in Kingston.
The first draft, which contains the critical strategies to deliver at least 10,000 new housing solutions for Jamaicans by the 2010/2011 financial year, was presented to the Ministry on February 2, but was sent back for revision. The revised document was presented by the University of Technology (UTech) team on July 21. It is the revised document that will be presented to stakeholders at the consultations.
On Thursday, September 17, the first consultation aimed at the general public will be held at St. John’s Methodist Church in Montego Bay, between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. The second consultation will also be held at the same location the following day, between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. but will target technical groups.
In Kingston, the session for the technical/focus groups will be held on the 11th floor of the Ministry of Water and Housing at The Towers, 25 Dominica Drive, on Wednesday, September 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Kingston leg’s general public consultation session will be held the following day, Thursday, September 24, at Lecture Theatre Four of the School of Building and Land Management at UTech.
The housing policy is being crafted by a group of experts from the University of the West Indies and UTech. A Technical Committee, established by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Genefa Hibbert, is currently reviewing the Policy. That committee is comprised of representatives from the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ), the National Housing Trust (NHT), the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), and the Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB).
The draft Policy is also being reviewed by an Intra-Ministerial Committee, comprising several departments of the Ministry of Water and Housing. The recommendations from the public consultations, as well as the Technical and Intra-Ministerial Committees, will be compiled in a report and is to be reviewed by the experts in formulating a second draft of the Policy.
While addressing Parliament in June last year, Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said that the Housing Policy is expected to address several issues, such as housing supply and demand, affordability, financing, investment, access to land, squatting, social housing and public-private partnerships.
The Minister signed a $21.6 million contract on June 17, 2008 with UTech, for the preparation of a National Housing Policy and Implementation Plan, at the Ministry in Kingston.

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