PM mulls social contract for social housing beneficiaries
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)

A social contract, which will see beneficiaries and their families agreeing to be law-abiding and positive citizens in their communities, will be introduced under the Housing, Opportunity, Production, and Employment (HOPE) programme.

The contract will also ensure that after the beneficiary has died, the family will continue to benefit from the house.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness provided details during a handover ceremony for a three-bedroom house to a family in Guys Hill, St Catherine, on Thursday.

He noted that the contract will see beneficiaries and their families "participating in the life of the community, to help others".

"This is not free, and you're going to pay for it by being good examples and good citizens," Holness said.

"We have a problem with violence in the society and it's tied into our culture and our history [as well as] in poverty — [which] leads to a high level of frustration. So, when we give you this benefit we want you to not be promoting violence in any way, shape or form," he cautioned.

The HOPE programme allows for the development and provision of housing for the country's poor and disadvantaged population.

Beneficiaries will also agree to maintain and preserve the house so that it does not end up in a deplorable state.

"The programme will develop its own monitoring mechanisms where we will be tracking those persons who have benefited to see how exactly they have utilised the [houses] to change their lives and that of the community," he added.

The prime minister said the Government will continue to implement the necessary policies and programmes to help citizens "break the cycle of poverty" in their families.

HOPE is implemented under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, and assists with indigent housing, relocation of vulnerable communities, and the upgrading of tenements.

— See related story: A home for young Delano Tucker and family

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