JIS News

The Technical Services Unit of the Ministry of Water and Housing is currently looking at new models, to resolve the chronic inner city decay.
“The unit has demonstrated its capacity to design solutions to facilitate urban renewal and they will be working closely with the National Housing Development Corporation (NHDC) on this effort,” Dr. Horace Chang, Minister of Water and Housing said during his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, yesterday (June 4).
In addition, the NHDC will commence work to put much needed infrastructure in sections of Norwood, Flankers and Barrett Hall in St. James.
Dr. Chang also mentioned two pilot renewal projects that are being undertaken at the Albion Tenement in St. James and the Olympic Gardens Community Centre in St. Andrew.
The Minister informed that the tenement was constructed to temporarily house persons displaced by Hurricane Charlie in 1951, and some 57 years later, “words cannot even come close to describing the abject squalor in which the persons were living.”
“I am happy to report that we have now completed the designs for the new units, a process that was done in consultation with the community, to ensure that each existing household is reasonably accommodated,” Dr. Chang said.
“The consultation is also to ensure that the residents are aware of their obligations and to introduce them to socio-economic opportunities for their personal development in order for them to fulfill their responsibilities. Construction is slated to begin in July and should be completed in one year,” he pointed out.
Dr. Chang noted, that the Social Services Unit of the Ministry was already working in tandem with the Social Development Commission (SDC), the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ), the Department of Friendly Societies and other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), to ensure that as the Ministry works to complete the houses, a plan is being developed and implemented to resolve the economic and social needs of the residents.
“This whole concept is being examined to provide a comprehensive programme for sustainable urban renewal. The objective is to not only improve the physical infrastructure, but to make our inner city residents participate and integrate into the formal economy,” the Minister said.

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