Gov't to focus on social housing — Holness

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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ST ELIZABETH, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the government will place more focus on providing social housing.

“Social housing does not mean build and give away house. Social housing means working with communities and potential home owners to devise affordable strategies towards home ownership,” Holness explained.

Holness gave this reassurance while delivering his keynote address at the Housing Agency of Jamaica's (HAJ) ground-breaking ceremony for Luana Housing Development in St Elizabeth yesterday.

The prime minister said the government is also working on a mandate to deliver more housing solutions on the market to increase the opportunity for home ownership.

In acknowledging the problem of informal settlements (squatting), Holness stated that if Jamaica is to move forward, there must be a conversation about how the country plans for its long term development.

He explained that the strategy of the government at this point is to ensure that government agencies use public resources in such a way that there are increased opportunities for people to own their homes.

“Before I tackle the bigger problem, let me solve the smaller problem, which is to get agencies that have public resources to build, to operate in an efficient and effective way,” said Holness.

In the meantime, the prime minister said there will have to be a refinement of the roles of the National Housing Trust (NHT) and the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ).

“I am expecting that after this is done, we will be able to supply both those persons who will not be able to acquire on the open market and those fully able to by virtue of being NHT contributors or having their own money to acquire a house on the general open market,” he added.

Within this fiscal year the NHT is expected to start over 5,000 housing solutions while the HAJ will provide approximately 168 with another 500 in the next fiscal year.

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