A home for young Delano Tucker and family
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second right) cuts the ribbon for the newly built three-bedroom house to the Tucker family in Guy's Hill, St Catherine, on Thursday. The family members are father, Desmond (right); son, Delano (third centre); mother, Nattris (second left), and daughter, Denisha Tucker (left). Also sharing the moment are Member of Parliament for St Catherine North Eastern Kerensia Morrison (third left) and chairperson, oversight committee, New Social Housing Programme, Judith Robb Walters. (Photo: JIS)

THE family of 17-year-old Delano Tucker, whose story of living in challenging conditions has touched the hearts of Jamaicans, now has a beautiful, new house built by the Government under the New Social Housing Programme (NSHP).

Prime Minister Andrew Holness handed over the keys to the three-bedroom dwelling in Guy's Hill, St Catherine, during a ceremony on Wednesday. Delano will live in the home with his parents and sister, who attends Guy's Hill High.

Prime Minister Holness said that when Delano's story of need was brought to national attention earlier this year, the Government sought to help.

"We looked at the entirety of the situation and tried to figure out what would be the best way to assist the family and it was clear that it would be [to provide] a home," he said.

He said that arrangements were immediately made to verify the family's eligibility for assistance under the NSEP.

"I am certain, based on what I have seen of Delano, that he's going to do great things for this country. I want to encourage the family to stay together, keep working hard, and keep being an example," Prime Minister Holness urged.

He said the assistance provided is "not just a one-off to Delano alone. Others who are waiting can have hope that their circumstances will also be attended to.

"Government must always, in everything they do, think about if this action is fair to everyone. There are other youngsters who are equally deserving, but we can assist Delano because we have put in place a programme," Holness said.

In a viral video in February, Delano, who is a former Guy's Hill High School student, spoke about the hardships his family faced, including adverse housing conditions and lack of electricity, which impacted his access to online classes while schools were closed due to the novel pandemic.

Despite the challenges, he managed to pass nine subjects in his external exams.

There was an outpouring of assistance to the family from persons locally and abroad, including a scholarship to enable Delano to study at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) in Portland, beginning in September 2022.

In giving the vote of thanks, Delano's mother, Nattris Tucker, expressed gratitude for the new home, and the "wealth of love, kindness and support" that has been shown to their family.

"We cannot express how grateful we are for all your support, encouragement and assurance, whether in cash or a word of compassion. On this joyous day, we want to give thanks to God Almighty," she said.

The NSHP was established in 2018 by Prime Minister Holness as the housing component of the Housing Opportunity Production and Employment (HOPE) programme.

It was developed to improve the housing condition of the country's poor and disadvantaged population by providing quality affordable and sustainable housing.

The programme is being implemented through the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), with the HOPE unit providing administrative and technical support.

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