Gov’t hunts less costly material for social programme houses
LIMA, St James — The Government is exploring the option of providing pre-constructed houses for indigent or single-person household beneficiaries under the New Social Housing Programme (NSHP), as the Administration prepares to increase NSHP’s budget during the upcoming fiscal year.
The disclosure was made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness who pointed out that the construction method now being used is quite expensive.
“We have to find newer methodologies, better technology and more cost-effective technology to provide housing solutions,” Holness said during the handover of a one-bedroom house for recipient Norma Cooper in Lima, Adelphi, St James, Monday morning.
“There are options for pre-designed, pre-constructed housing solutions that can be just lifted and placed on site — which would remove quite a bit of work to build, and the time. So those are options that we are going to explore, specifically, for single-person households and indigent persons where we have settled the land issue and all that is needed is to just place a unit on site,” the prime minister said.
“We have already started that process to identify new building methodologies which we will be implementing in the near future to put up structures like these. Those options are up for discussion and implementation,” he added.
Holness also announced that at least another 500 houses will be built under the programme during financial year 2024/2025.
“We plan to increase the budget for the New Social Housing Programme under the Indigent Housing Programme this year so that we can get more Jamaicans. We are targeting to do more in 2024,” Holness stated.
“In 2024 you are going to see more social housing, more beneficiaries like Norma whose life we intend to improve and put a smile on her face,” he added.
Speaking during the event, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie also had an update for the neighbouring parish of Hanover.
“This year, not only will the prime minister be rolling out more of these houses, but under the Ministry of Local Government’s Social Housing Programme, in Chambers Pen we are going to be handing over another three houses in another two weeks’ time,” he promised.
“The prime minister has demonstrated not only the willingness but the strength to pursue and to deliver on the promises of social housing for the less fortunate of the country; it is a part of the rural development strategy of the Andrew Holness Administration. And I want to say, as the minister with responsibility for local government that also has responsibility for rural development, this fits into the wider programme that the Administration is pursuing,” McKenzie added.
An elated Cooper expressed her delight at receiving the house, which she likened to a hotel.
“When I went into the bathroom and turned on the pipe I said to myself, ‘Man, this place looks like it’s a hotel because I am feeling so good,’ ” she said.
Cooper said she had been pleased with the unit since it was in the construction phase.
“I am grateful for this one-bedroom unit. When I come inside here it’s like I don’t want to get out — and yet it was not finished yet,” she said.
Also on Monday, the prime minister handed over a housing unit to a recipient in John’s Hall in the parish.
Both houses are located in Edmund Bartlett’s St James East Central constituency, and he was on hand for the ceremonies.