Holness highlights impact of New Social Housing Programme
ST MARY, Jamaica— Prime Minister Andrew Holness highlighted the impact of the New Social Housing Programme while handing over a three-bedroom unit to a family in St Mary on Wednesday.
The family had reportedly lost its breadwinner some years ago under violent circumstances leaving the elderly matriarch of the home, identified as Beverly, to take care of the deceased woman’s children who were left behind. However, Beverly suffered a stroke and was unable to work.
Holness in his remarks during the handing- over ceremony, stated that housing improves the possibilities for the entire household.
“Housing helps the entire household, it improves the possibilities for the entire household. So in this season of Christmas, it’s my great pleasure to be handing over a unit on behalf of the people of Jamaica. We really ought to say thanks to the people of Jamaica, because this is the taxpayers’ money and the message behind it to those who are looking on is that this programme will be available for all Jamaicans who meet the criteria set,” the prime minister said.
He stated that he is aware there might be thousands of Jamaicans in the same position as the recipient of the new unit, adding that the government is hopeful it can create housing solutions for all affected.
“We hopefully can get to all of them but to get to them we have to have a process, we have to have order, systems in place and we have to get Jamaicans into this mindset that the government can’t just take up money and spend. There is a process,” Holness said.
“It takes time so we ask you to be patient and we are going to try to be quicker because I have been to handing over ceremonies like these where the recipient was waiting for three or four years, sometimes even longer,” he added.
The prime minister stated that 177 housing solutions have so far been distributed under the programme, with an additional 50 units currently being constructed. Holness disclosed that with the development, he expects that next year the government will be able to increase the number of houses it can deliver.
“We estimate that we have about 6,000 Jamaicans who are in this kind of situation where they can’t buy a house for themselves; they have no income, the family unit is under threat and they need intervention. Of the 6,000, we are at 177 so we have a far way to go,” Holness said.
“Now, the government won’t be able to address all 6,000 but as the economy gets better and more people get employed people will be able to lift themselves out of poverty. So we are trying to treat with all Jamaicans, everyone who is poor, dispossessed and feel like the society doesn’t care about them but that is not the case, we care about them and this programme is the ultimate example of how the government cares,” Holness added.
The New Social Housing Programme was extablished in 2018 to mprove the housing condition of the country’s poor and disadvantaged population by providing quality, affordable and sustainable housing.