NASHVILLE, St Mary — Work has begun on the Nashville Housing Development near Clonmel in Highgate, St Mary where the National Housing Trust (NHT) is to spend some $300 million to construct 48 two-bedroom units and 15 service lots.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller recently broke ground for the project which has been described as a major economic and housing boost for the parish.
Addressing the ground-breaking ceremony, Simpson Miller said there was need for more housing solutions, especially in rural Jamaica, and she challenged the NHT to help meet that need.
The Nashville Housing Development, which is expected to be completed by next December, according to Simpson Miller, is evidence that the NHT is providing affordable housing for Jamaicans.
"This project is evidence that the National Housing Trust is, without a doubt, proceeding full steam ahead, on a mission to provide affordable housing to the people of Jamaica," Simpson Miller said.
The prime minister explained that the Nashville Housing Development was originally designed to provide 63 service lots but the scope was expanded to include the construction of houses.
"The NHT plans to build the new houses in this development using a small contractors' programme; we want to ensure we include every sector of the society with the National Housing Trust," she explained.
Simpson Miller said the housing project should lead to economic stimulation for the parish and she pointed out that this is an example of the different government agencies working together.
In order to address the water supply challenges in Nashville, Simpson Miller said the National Water Commission (NWC) was working closely with the NHT, to provide financing to have water in the area.
"This will enable the NWC to commence work in this year 2012/2013 to bring water to the area in time for the handing over of the new houses," she said.
The NHT is to provide approximately $700 million to help develop the Iteboreal water supply system in the parish, which will provide the commodity to Nashville and several other St Mary communities.
Simpson Miller said there is an urgent need to increase the country's housing stock, and as such, some 600 houses are to be built islandwide each year for the next five years, under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).
"I am determined that within the next four years, the NHT must be able to stand proudly...and declare how many houses we have provided for the people of Jamaica; I think it is critical," she said.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament (MP) for South East St Mary, Dr Winston Green and MP for Central St Mary, Dr Morias Guy, who is also the government minister responsible for housing, have both expressed appreciation to the NHT for the development in the parish.
Green said the housing development would help to elevate the area and surrounding communities and he encouraged the beneficiaries, when they are selected, to keep the standards of the housing development high.
For his part, Guy said the project forms part of Government's response to the need for affordable housing in St Mary and the wider Jamaica.